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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 



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THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

mw YORK • BOSTON • CHICAGO • DALLAS 
ATLANTA • SAN FRANCISCO 

MACMILLAN & CO., Limitto 

LONDON • BOMBAY • CALCUTTA 
MBLBOURNB 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd. 

TORONTO 



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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 



LECTURES DELIVERED AT THE LOWELL 
INSTITUTE IN BOSTON, AND AT MAN- 
CHESTER COLLEQE, OXFORD 



BY 

JOSIAH ROYCE 

D.So. (Uniyeraity of Oxford) 

FXOFB880R OF THB HI8TOBT OF PHILOSOPHY 
IN HABYABD UNIYBBSITT 



VOLUME n 
THE REAL WORLD AND THE CHRISTIAN IDEAS 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
1913 



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VVv^'S5<\ -1.0.0 




''^^^-rj. .. :', 



OOPTBIOHT, 1918, 

By the MACMILLAN COMPANY. 
Set np and dectrotyped. Published May, 1913. 



J. 8. Onshing Co. ~ Berwick & Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



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TABLE OF CONTENTS 
VOLUME II 

THE REAL WORLD AND THE CHRISTIAN 
IDEAS 

LECTURE IX 

PAGll 

The CoMMtTNITY AND THE TdIE-PrOCESS. . 1 

LECTURE X 
The Bobt and the Mebibers 65 

LECTURE XI 

Perception, Conception, and Interpretation . 107 

LECTURE Xn 
The Will to Interpret 165 

LECTURE Xm 

The World op Interpretation .... 223 

LECTURE XIV 

The Doctrine op Signs 277 

V 



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TABLE OF CONTENTS 
LECTURE XV 

PAGll 

The Hibtobical and the Essential • . . 827 
LECTURE XVI 

SXTMMABT AND CONCLUSION 881 



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IX 

THE COMMUNITY AND THE TIME-PBOCESS 



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LECTURE IX 

THfi COMMUNITY AND THE TIME-PROCESS 

THE present situation of the Philosophy 
of Religion is dominated by motives 
and tendencies which are at once inspiring 
and confusing. It is the task of a student 
of this branch of philosophy to do whatever 
he can towards clarifying our outlook. Some 
of our recent leaders of opinion have turned 
our attention to new aspects of human expe- 
rience, and have enriched philosophy with a 
wealth of fascinating intuitions. These con- 
tributions to the philosophy of our time have 
obvious bearings upon the interests of reli- 
gion. If religion depended solely upon intui- 
tion and upon novelty, our age would already 
have proved its right to be regarded as a 
period of great advances in religious insight. 

In fact, however, religion is concerned, not 
merely with our experience, but also with 
our will. The true lover of religion needs a 
conscience, as well as a joy in living — a 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

coherent plan of action as well as a vital im- 
pulse. Now, in the present phase of the 
philosophy of religion, the religious aspect of 
the conscience is, as I believe, too seldom 
made a central object of inquiry. The in- 
terests of a coherent plan of life are too much 
neglected. I believe that both our ethical 
and our distinctly religious concerns tend to 
suflFer in consequence of these tendencies of 
recent thought to which I thus allude. I 
believe that much can be done to profit by 
the novelties and by the intuitions of our day, 
without losing ourselves in the wilderness of 
caprices into which recent discussion hais 
invited us to make the future home of our 
philosophy. 



Because I view the problems of the phi- 
losophy of religion in this general way, I have 
undertaken, in the foregoing lectures, a study 
of the problem of Christianity which has 
been intended to accomplish three distinct, 
but closely connected tasks : — 

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COMMUNITY AND TIME-PROCESS 

First, in a fashion that has shown, as I 
hope, some genuine sympathy with the ten- 
dencies now prevalent, both in the whole 
field of philosophy, and, in particular, in the 
study of religion, I have tried to interpret 
some of the more obviously human and 
practical aspects of the religious beliefs of 
our fathers. In other words, I have ap- 
proached the problem of Christianity from 
the side, not of metaphysics and of traditional 
dogmas, but of religious life and of human 
experience. 

Secondly, even in using this mode of ap- 
proach, I have laid stress upon the fact that 
Christianity — viewed as a doctrine of life 
— is not merely a religion of experience and 
of sentiment, but also a religion whose main 
stress is laid upon the imity and the coherence 
of the common experience of the faithful, and 
upon the judgment which a calm and far- 
seeing conscience passes upon the values of 
life. The freedom of spirit to which Chris- 
tianity, in the course of its centuries of teach- 
ing, has trained the civilizations which it 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

has influenced, has been the freedom which 
loves both a wide outlook and a well-knit plan 
of action. In brief, I have insisted that 
Christianity, whatever its metaphysical basis 
may be, and however rich may be the wealth 
of intuitions which it has opened to its fol- 
lowers, has all the seriousness of purpose, and 
all the strenuousness of will, which make it 
indeed a religion of loyalty. 

Thirdly, I have, from the outset, said that 
our view of the mission and the truth of the 
Christian doctrine of life would not be com- 
plete without a study of the metaphysical 
basis of the Christian ideas. 

In the last two lectures we have considered 
how the modern mind stands related to the 
human interests which the Christian doctrine 
of life expresses. Our fathei:s, however, held 
Christianity to be, not merely a plan for the 
salvation of man, but a revelation concern- 
ing the origin and fate of the whole cosmos. 
From this point onwards, in our study, we 
must face anew the problem which the old 
faith regarded as solved. We, too, must take 

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COMMUNITY AND TIME-PROCESS 

account of the universe. We must consider 
what is the consistent position for the modern 
mind to accept when the inquiry arises: 
Has the Christian doctrine of life a more than 
human meaning and foundation ? Does this 
doctrine express a truth, not only about man, 
but about the whole world, and about God ? 

n 

The modern man has long since learned not 
to confine himself to a geocentric view of 
the universe, nor to an anthropocentric view 
of the aflFairs of this planet of ours. For 
minds trained as ours now are, it has become 
inevitable to imagine how human concerns 
would seem to us if we heard of them from 
afar, as dwellers in other solar or stellar 
systems might be supposed to hear of them. 
We have been taught to remember that at 
some time, — a time not nearly so distant 
from us in the future as the Miocene division 
of the Tertiary period is now distant from us 
in the past, man will probably be as extinct 
as is now the sabre-toothed tiger. But such 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

considerations as these arouse further queries 
about Christian doctrine — queries which no 
modern mind can wholly ignore. Let all be 
admitted which we urged at the last time 
regarding the close relation of the Christian 
doctrine of life to the deepest needs of human- 
ity. Then this will indeed show that Chris- 
tianity, viewed simply as such a doctrine of 
life, need not fear social changes, so long as 
civihzed man endures; and will remain as a 
spiritual guide of future generations, however 
vast the revolutions to which they may be 
subject, so long as the future generations 
view life largely and seriously. 

But such considerations will not meet all 
the legitimate questions of a philosophy of 
religion. For religion, although it need not 
depend for its appeal to the human heart upon 
solving the problems of the cosmos, inevi- 
tably leads to a constantly renewed interest 
in those problems. Let it be granted that the 
salvation of mankind indeed requires some 
form of religion whose essential ideas are in 
harmony with the Christian ideas which we 

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have examined ; still, that fact will not quite 
supply an answer to our natural inquiries, if 
indeed mankind is destined simply to fail, — 
as the sabre-toothed tiger failed. And if man- 
kind, in the vast cosmos, is as much alone 
amongst the beings that people the universe 
as the earth seems to be alone amongst the 
countless worlds, — what shall it profit us 
if we seem to be saving our own souls for a 
time, but actually remain, after all, what we 
were before, — utterly insignificant incidents 
in a world-process that neither needs men nor 
heeds them ? 

Traditional theology could long ignore such 
considerations, because it could centre all the 
universe about the earth and man. But the 
modem man must think of his kind as thus 
really related to an immeasurably vast cos- 
mic process, at whose cejitre our planet does 
not stand, and in whose ages our brief human 
lives play a part as transient, relatively speak- 
ing, as is, for our own eyes, the flickeriiig of 
the northern lights. 

The task to which we must now devote 
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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

ourselves is thus determined, for our age, and 
for the modern man, by the enlarged per- 
spective in which we have to view human 
history. Our doctrine of life is not so readily 
to be connected with our picture of the uni- 
verse as would be the case if we still hved 
under the heavenly spheres of an ancient 
cosmology. Yet we shall find that the differ- 
ence which is here in question will not prove 
to be so great in its meaning as the quanti- 
tative differences between the ancient and 
modern world seem, at first, to imply. Our 
fathers also faced the problem of the infinity 
of the universe, much as they often tried 
to ignore or to minimize that problem. And, 
in the spiritual world, mere quantity, how- 
ever vast, is not the hardest of obstacles to 
overcome. 

m 

In any case, however, the part of our under- 
taking upon which we thus enter, corresponds 
to those chapters of traditional theology which 
dealt with the existence and nature of God, 

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and with God's relation to the world, and 
with the origin and destiny of the human 
individual. Our own attempt to study these 
well-worn problems begins with one, and per- 
• haps with only one, advantage over the best- 
known traditional modes of expounding a 
philosophical theology. We, namely, set out 
under the guidance of our foregoing study of 
the Christian ideas. Central among these 
ideas is that of the Universal Community. 
For us, then, theology, if we are to define 
any theology at all, must depend upon the 
metaphysical interpretation and foundation 
of the community. If that ideal of one be- 
loved and united community of all mankind 
whose religious value we have defended, has 
a basis, not merely in the transient interests 
of us mortals, but also in whatever is largest 
and most lasting in the universe, then indeed 
the doctrine of the community will prove to 
be a doctrine about the being and nature and 
manifestation of God; and our estimate of 
the relation of the modern mind to the spirit 
of a Christian creed will be altered and com- 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

pleted accordingly. This one doctrine will 
indeed not suffice to make us literal followers 
of tradition ; but it will bring us into a sym- 
pathy with some of the most essential features 
of the Christian view of the divine being. 

IV 

What interests are at stake when this as- 
pect of the problems of theology is emphasized, 
I can best remind you by recalling the fact 
which we mentioned in comparing Buddhism 
and Christianity in a former lecture. The 
most characteristic feature by which the 
Christian doctrine of life stands contrasted 
with its greatest religious rival, we found to 
be the one summarized in the words of the 
creed: "I believe in the Holy Ghost, the 
Holy Catholic Church, the communion of 
saints." In our former lecture, when we com- 
mented upon these words, we laid no stress 
upon the special traditions of the historical 
Church. We considered only the universally 
human significance of the ideal which has 
always constituted the vital principle of the 

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COMMUNITY AND TIME-PROCESS 

historical Church, — far away as the ade- 
quate embodiment of that ideal in any visible 
human institution still seems to be. At the 
present stage of our inquiry, — since we are, 
of necessity, entering for the time the world 
of metaphysical abstractions, we have also to 
abstract from still another aspect of the 
meaning which the words of the creed in- 
tend to convey. For neither the historical 
Church, nor the distinctively human ideal 
which it expresses, shall be, in these meta- 
physical lectures, at the centre of our attention. 
We are here to ask : For what truth, if any, 
regarding the whole nature of things, does 
that article of the creed stand ? Our answer 
must be found, if at all, in some metaphysical 
theory of the community and of its relation, 
if such relation it possesses, to the divine 
being. In other words, the central problem 
in our present attempt at a theology must 
be that problem which traditional Chri^fian 
theology has so strangely neglected, — the 
problem of what the religious consciousness 
has called the Holy Spirit. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 



The philosophy of religion, in dealing with 
the problem of Christianity, has often elabo- 
rately expounded and criticised the arguments 
for the existence of God. Such philosophical 
arguments have in general to do with the con- 
cept of the Deity viewed quite apart from the 
Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In other 
cases, and for obvious historical reasons, the 
philosophy of religion has had much to say 
about the doctrine of the Logos. This doc- 
trine, when treated as a part of Christian 
theology, is usually taken to be the theory of 
the second person of the Trinity. But the 
traditional doctrine of the Holy Spirit, neg- 
lected by the early theologians of the Church, 
even when the creeds were still in the forma- 
tive period of their existence, has remained 
until this day in the background of inquiry, 
both for the theologians and for the philoso- 
phers. A favorite target for hostile, although 
often inarticulate, criticism on the part of the 
opponents of tradition, and a frequent object 

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COMMUNITY AND TIME-PROCESS 

of reverential, but confessedly problematic 
and often very vague, exposition on the part 
of the defenders of the faith, — the arti- 
cle of the creed regarding the Holy Spirit 
is, I believe, the one matter about which 
most who discuss the problem of Christian- 
ity have least to say in the way of definite 
theory. 

Yet, if I am right, — this is, in many re- 
spects, the really distinctive and therefore the 
capital article of the Christian creed, so far 
as that creed suggests a theory of the divine 
nature.* This article, then, should be un- 
derstood, if the spirit of Christianity, in its 
most human and vital of features, is to be 
understood at all. And this article should 
be philosophically expounded and defended, 
if any distinctively Christian article of the 
creed is to find a foundation in a rationally 
defensible metaphysical theory of the uni- 
verse. 

Apart from the doctrine of the ideal com- 
munity, and of the divine Spirit as consti- 
tuting the unity and the hf e of this community, 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

Theism can be, as for many centuries it has 
been, defined and defended. But such theism, 
which "knows not so much as whether there 
is any Holy Ghost,"' is not distinctively Chris- 
tian in its meaning. And the Logos-doctrine, 
except when viewed in unity with the doctrine 
of the Spirit, is indeed what some of its re- 
cent hostile critics (such as Harnack) have 
taken it to be, — a thesis of Greek philoso- 
phy, and not a characteristically Christian 
opinion. The Logos-doctriae of the Fourth 
Gospel, as we earlier saw, is indeed no mere 
following of Greek metaphysics; for the 
Fourth Gospel identifies the Logos with the 
spirit of the community. Here, then, in this 
doctrine of the spirit, lies the really cen- 
tral idea of any distinctively Christian meta- 
physic. 

To approach the problems of the philosophy 
of religion from the side of the metaphysical 
basis of the idea of the community is there- 
fore, I believe, to undertake a task as momen- 
tous as it is neglected. 



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COMMUNITY AND TIME-PROCESS 

VI 

Moreover, as we shall soon find, this mode 
of beginning the metaphysical part of our 
task promises to reUeve us, for the time, from 
the need of using some terms and of repeating 
some discussions, which recent controversy 
may well have made wearisome to many of 
us. The altogether too abstractly stated 
contrast between Monism and Pluralism — 
a contrast which fills so large a place in the 
polemical metaphysical writings of the day, 
does not force itself to the front, in our minds 
and in our words, when we set out to inquire 
into the real basis of the idea of the commu- 
nity. For a community immediately presents 
itself to our minds both as one and as many ; 
and unless it is both one and many, it is no 
community at all. This fact does not, by 
itself, solve the problem of the One and the 
Many. But it serves to remind us how im- 
true to hfe is the way in which that problem 
is frequently stated. 

In fact, as I believe, the idea of the com- 

voL. n — c 17 



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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

munity, suggested to us by the problems of 
human social Ufe, but easily capable of a 
generahzation which possesses universal im- 
portance, gives us one of our very best indica- 
tions of the way in which the problem of the 
One and the Many is to be solved, and of the 
level of mental life upon which the solution 
is actually accomplished. 
[ So much may serve as a general indication 
of the nature of our undertaking. Let jne 
next attempt to define the problem of the com- 
munity more precisely. 

VII 

Motives which are as familiar as they are 
hard to analyze have convinced us all, before 
we begin to philosophize, that our human 
world contains a variety of individually dis- 
tinct minds or selves, and that some, for us 
decisively authoritative, principle of individua- 
tion, keeps these selves apart, and forbids 
us to regard their various lives merely as in- 
cidents, or as undivided phases of a common 
life. This conviction — the stubborn plural- 

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ism of our present and highly cultivated social 
consciousness — tends indeed, under criticism, 
to be subject to various doubts and modifica- 
tions, — the more so as, in case we are once 
challenged to explain who we are, none of us 
find it easy to define the precise boimdaries 
of the individual self, or to tell wherein it 
diflFers from the rest of the world, and, in 
particular, from the selves of other men. 

But to all such doubts our social common 
sense replies by insisting upon three groups 
of facts. These facts combine to show that 
the individual human selves are sundered 
from one another by gaps which, as it would 
seem, are in some sense impassable. 

First, in this connection, our common sense 
insists upon the empirical sundering of the 
feehngs, — that is, of the immediate expe- 
riences of various human individuals. One 
man does not feel, and, speaking in terms of 
direct experience, cannot feel, the physical 
pains of another man. Sympathy may try 
its best to bridge the gulf thus estabUshed by 
nature. Love may counsel me to view the 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

pangs of my fellow as if they were my own. 
But, as a fact, my sensory nerves do not end 
in my fellow's skin, but in mine. And the 
physical sundering of the organisms corre- 
sponds to a persistent sundering of our streams 
of immediate feeUng. Even the most im- 
mediate and impressive forms of sympathy 
with the physical pangs of another human 
being only serve the more to illustrate how 
our various conscious Uves are thus kept 
apart by gulfs which we cannot cross. When 
a pitiful man shrinks, or feels faint, or is 
otherwise overcome with emotion, at what is 
called "the sight" of another's suffering, — 
how imhke are the sufferings of the shrinking 
or terrified or overwhelmed spectator, and the 
pangs of the one with whom he is said to 
sympathize. As a fact, the sympathizer does 
not feel the sufferer's pain. What he feels is 
his own emotional reverberation at the sight of 
its symptoms. That is, in general, something 
very different, both in quaUty and in intensity, 
from what the injured man feels. 

We appear, then, to be individuated by the 
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diversity and the separateness of our streams 
of immediate feeling. My toothache cannot 
directly become an item in my neighbor's mind. 
Facts of this sort form the first group of evi- 
dences upon which common sense depends for 
its pluralistic view of the world of human selves. 

The facts of the second group are closely 
allied to the former, but lie upon another 
level of individual life, — namely, upon the 
level of our more organized ideas. 

"One man," so says our social conmion 
sense, "can only indirectly discover the inten- 
tions, the thoughts, the ideas, of another 
man." Direct telepathy, if it ever occurs at 
all, is a rare and, in most of our practical re- 
lations, a wholly negligible fact. By nature, 
every man's plans, intents, opinions, and 
range of personal experience are secrets, ex- 
cept in so far as his physical organism in- 
directly reveals them. His fellows can learn 
these secrets only through his expressive 
movements. Control your expression, keep 
silence, avoid the imguarded look and the 
telltale gesture; and then nobody can dis- 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

cover what is in your mind. No man can 
directly read the hearts of his fellows. This 
seems, for our common sense, to be one of the 
deepest-seated laws of our social experience. 
It is often expressed as if it were not merely 
an empirical law, but a logical necessity. 
How could I possibly possess or share or be- 
come conscious of the thoughts and purposes 
of another mind, imless I were myself identical 
with that mind ? So says our ordinary com- 
mon sense. The very supposition that I 
could be conscious of a thought or of an in- 
tent which was all the while actually present 
to the consciousness of another individual 
man, is often regarded as a supposition not 
only contrary to fact, but also contrary to 
reason. Such a supposition, it is often said, 
would involve a direct self-contradiction. 

Otherwise expressed, the facts of this second 
group, and the principles which they exemplify, 
are summed up by asserting, as our social 
common sense actually asserts : We are in- 
dividuated by the law that our trains of con- 
scious thought and purpose are mutually 

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inaccessible through any mode of direct in- 
tuition. Each of us lives within the charmed 
circle of his own conscious will and meaning, 
— each of us is more or less clearly the object 
of his own inspection, but is hopelessly beyond 
the direct observation of his fellows. 

Of separate streams of feeling, — of mu- 
tually inaccessible and essentially secret trains 
of ideas, — we men are thus constituted. By 
such forms and by such structure of mental 
life, by such divisions which no human power 
can bring into one imity of insight, individual 
human minds are forced to exist together upon 
terms which make them, in so far, appear to 
resemble Leibnizian monads. Their only win- 
dows appear to be those which their physical 
organisms supply. 

The third group of facts here in question is 
the group upon which our cultivated social 
common sense most insists whenever ethical 
problems are in question ; and therefore it is 
precisely this third group of facts which has 
most interest in its bearings upon the idea of 
the commimity. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

"We are all members one of another/' So 
says the doctrine of the community. "On 
the contrary," so our social common sense 
insists : "We are beings, each of whom has a 
soul of his own, a destiny of his own, rights 
of his own, worth of his own, ideals of his 
own, and an individual life in which this 
soul, this destiny, these rights, these ideals, 
get their expression. No other man can 
do my deed for me. When I choose, my 
choice coalesces with the voluntary decision 
of no other individual." Such, I say, is the 
characteristic assertion to which this third 
group of facts leads our ordinary social plu- 
ralism. 

In brief : We thus seem to be individuated 
by our deeds. The will whereby I choose my 
own deed, is not my neighbor's will. My act 
is my own. Another man can perform an 
act which repeats the type of my act, or which 
helps or hinders my act. But if the question 
arises concerning any one act: Who hath 
done this ? — such a question admits of only 
one true answer. Deeds and their doers stand 

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COMMUNITY AND TIME-PROCESS 

in one-one correspondence. Such is the opin- 
ion of our cultivated modem ethical common 
sense. 

Upon this individuation of the selves by 
their deeds appear to rest all the other just 
mentioned ethical aspects of our modem social 
pluralism. As we mentioned in an earlier 
lecture, primitive man is not an individualist. 
The clear consciousness of individual rights, 
dignity, worth, and responsibility seems to 
be a product of that moral cultivation of 
which we have now frequently spoken. Ac- 
cording to the primitive law of blood revenge, 
it is the commimity and not the individual 
that suflFers for a deed. The consciousness 
that my deed is peculiarly my own also forms 
the basis for that cultivated idea of sin of 
which we foimd Paul making use. At all 
events, this ethical aspect of individual self- 
consciousness is frequently used by common 
sense as one of the most impressive grounds for 
doubting any philosophy which appears to 
make light of the distinctness of the social 
individuals. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

VIII 

Nevertheless, all these varieties of individual 
experience, these chasms which at any one 
present moment seem to sunder mind and 
mind, and these ethical considerations which 
have taught us to think of one man as morally 
independent of another, do not tell us the 
whole truth about the actual constitution of 
the social realm. There are facts that seem 
to show that these many are also one. These, 
then, are facts which force upon us the prob- 
lem of the community. 

As we have now repeatedly seen, social 
cooperation unquestionably brings into exist- 
ence languages, customs, religions. These, 
as Wundt declares, are indeed psychological 
creations. Yet a language, a custom, or a 
religion is not a collection of discrete psycho- 
logical phenomena, each of which corresponds 
to some separate individual mind to which 
that one mental fact belongs, or is due. Thus, 
the English language is a mental product, — 
and a product possessing intelligent unity. 

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Its creator must be regarded as also, in some 
sense, a single intelligence. But the creator 
of the English language was no mere collec- 
tion of Englishmen, each of whom added his 
word or phrase or accent, or other linguistic 
fact. The creator of English speech is the 
English people. Hence the English people 
is itself some sort of mental imit with a mind 
of its own. 

The countless phenomena which Wundt in 
his VOlkerpsychologie brings to our attention, 
constitute a philosophical problem which 
ought to be only the more carefully studied 
in case one regards the facts upon which our 
ordinary social pluralism rests as both un- 
questionable and momentous. 

For if indeed men are sundered in their 
individual lives by the chasms which our 
social common sense seems to make so ob- 
vious; if they live in mutually inaccessible 
realms of conscious solitude ; how comes it to 
pass that, nevertheless, in their social life, 
large and small bodies of men can come to act 
as if one conunon intelligence and one common 

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will were using the individuals as its almost 
helpless instruments ? Here is indeed a great 
problem. The theories of Wundt's type have 
the advantage of emphasizing and defining 
that problem. 

Our ordinary social pluralism leads us to 
conceive the individual streams of conscious- 
ness as if they were unable to share eyen a 
single pang of pain. No one of them, we have 
said, can directly read the secret of a single 
idea that floats in another stream. Each 
conscious river of individual life is close shut 
between its own banks, like the Oregon of 
Bryant's youthful poem that rolls, "and hears 
no sound but his own waves.'' 

But in our actual social life, — in the mar- 
ket-place, or at the political gathering, or 
when mobs rage and imagine a vain thing, in 
the streets of a modem city, the close shut-in 
streams of consciousness now appear as if 
they had lost their banks altogether. They 
seem to flow together like rivers that are lost 
in the ocean, and to surge into tumultuous 
unity, as if they were universal tides. 

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Or, again, our ordinary social pluralism 
makes us view the individual selves as if they 
were Leibnizian monads that had no windows. 
The social phenomena of the lives of communi- 
ties, on the contrary, make these monads ap- 
pear as if they had no walls, or as if they 
became mere drops that coalesce. Our ethi- 
cal pluralism makes us proudly declare, each 
for himself, "My deed is my own.'' But 
our collective life often seems to advise us to 
say, not, "I act thus ;" but, "Thus the com- 
munity acts in and through me." Or again, 
our cultivated indei>endence declares, "I think 
thus and thus.'' But, when the ethnol- 
ogist Bastian uses the formula, "Ich denke 
nicht; sondem es denkt in mir," the social 
facts, especially of primitive human thought, 
go far to give this formula a meaning. In 
Europe the discovery of individual thinking 
began in some sense with the early Greek 
philosophers. Before them, tribes and com- 
mimities did the thinking. 

Now such considerations are emphasized by 
the theories of the type which Wimdt favors. 

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Such theories, without being able to tell 
us all that we should like to know regarding 
what constitutes the unity of a community, 
have in common the tendency to insist that 
in many cases a community behaves as 
an imit, and therefore must be an imit, 
however its inner coherence may be con- 
stituted. If, however, we admit the facts 
which Wundt emphasizes, it is natural to 
seek for some further and perhaps more con- 
crete way of conceiving what the mental life 
of a community may be, and how its imity is 
constituted. Wimdt himself has hardly done 
all, I think, that we could desire in this direc- 
tion, and it is natural to supplement his views 
by others. 

Such a further approach towards an insight 
into the problem of the commimity is sug- 
gested by William James's discussion of what, 
in his lectures here at Oxford on "The Plural- 
istic Universe," he called the "compoimding 
of consciousness.'' 

The main interests which guided James in 
the lectures to which I refer were indeed not 

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the interests which I have emphasized in the 
early part of this course. James was not 
dealing with the problems which Christianity 
presents ; nor was he interested in the idea of 
the commimity, in the form in which I am 
approaching that problem. But he was con- 
cerned with general religious and metaphysi- 
cal issues; and questions relating to plural- 
ism were explicitly in the foreground of his 
inquiry. He was also led to take accoimt of 
manifold motives which tend to show that our 
mental world does not merely consist of sun- 
dered fields or streams of consciousness with 
barriers that part them. 

Those who hear me will well remember how 
James emphasized, in the course of his argu- 
ment, the diflSculties which, as he explained, 
had so long held him back from any form of 
philosophy which should involve believing 
that a "compoimding of consciousness'' oc- 
curs, or is real. How should any one con- 
scious mind be inclusive of another, or such 
that it was compounded with that other? 
This question, as James declared, had long 

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seemed to him incapable of any answer in 
terms which should involve admitting the 
possibility of such "co-consciousness," if in- 
deed our philosophy were to be permitted to 
remain rational at all. But James actually 
reached at length a point in his own reflections 
where, as he said, this compounding of con- 
sciousness, this Bergsonian interpenetration of 
the various selves, came to appear to him in 
certain cases an empirically verifiable fact, — 
or, at all events, an irresistible hypothesis. 
When this point was reached, James felt that, 
for him, a philosophical crisis had come. 

James faced and passed this crisis. He did 
so upon the basis of his own well-known anti- 
intellectualism. The mental world, he said, 
must not be interpreted in rational terms. 
If the compounding of consciousness occurs, 
it is irrational, although real. James was 
rejoiced, however, to feel that, in this matter, 
he stood in alliance with Bergson. And so, 
henceforth, for James, the many selves inter- 
penetrated, or, at all events, might do so. It 
was merely the sterile intellect (so he now 

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affirmed) which was responsible for the con- 
ceptual abstractions that had seemed to sunder 
various minds, not only empirically, but ab- 
solutely, and to make the compounding of 
consciousness impossible. It still remained 
for James true that we are indeed many. But 
this assertion no longer implied : We are 
sundered from one another by divisions that 
are absolutely impassable. We may be many 
selves ; and yet, from these many selves, a 
larger self may be compounded, — a self such 
as one of Fechner's planetary consciousnesses 
was, or such as some still vaster cosmical form 
of mental life may be. This larger self may 
from above, as it were, bridge what is for 
us an impassable chasm. Interpenetration, 
which for us seems impossible, may come to 
pass for some higher sort of intuition. 

With this treatment of the problem of the 
one and the many in the form in which social 
psychology presents it to our attention, James's 
account of the great cosmological questions 
and of their religious bearings came to an end, 
— just at the point where we all most needed 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

to know what his next step in philosophy 
would be. 

In substance, this outcome of a long series 
of efforts to deal with the problems of the one 
and the many in the world of the mental beings 
was based, in the case of James, partly upon 
empirical phenomena, of the type reported in 
his " Varieties of Religious Experience," and 
partly upon hypothetical extensions of these 
empirical phenomena. These hypothetical 
extensions themselves were again suggested 
to him, partly by Fechner's speculations on 
the cosmical enlargements of consciousness; 
partly by the general volimtaristic tendencies 
which so long characterized James's religious 
thought ; and partly by Bergson's use of the 
new category of "interpenetration" as the one 
especially suited to aid us in the perception of 
the mental worid. The results brought James, 
at the very close of his career, into new relations 
with the idealistic tradition in philosophy, — 
a relation which I ought not here to attempt 
to characterize at all extensively. 

But in any case, the sort of compoimding of 
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consciousness which James favored differed in 
many respects from what I have in mind when 
I speak of the idea of the community. When 
the minds of James's world began to inter- 
penetrate in earnest, as they did in this last 
phase of his religious speculation, they behaved 
much like drops of mercury that, falling, may 
form a pool, until, moved by one impulse or 
another, they break away from their union 
again, and flow and glitter imtil the next 
blending occur. Paul's conception of the 
spirit in the Church never appealed, I think, 
to James's mind. 

But, in any case, James's final opinions, 
although only indirectly bearing upon our own 
main problem, tended to show, better than 
would otherwise have been possible, where 
the true problem lies. 

IX 

We may be aided in making a more decisive 
advance towards understanding what a com- 
munity is by emphasizing at this point a 
motive which we have not before mentioned, 

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and which no doubt plays a great part in the 
psychology of the social consciousness. 

Any notable case wherein we find a social 
organization which we can call, in the psycho- 
logical sense, either a highly developed com- 
munity or the creation or product of such a 
community, is a case where some process 
of the nature of a history — that is, of co- 
herent social evolution — has gone on, and 
has gone on for a long time, and is more or less 
remembered by the community in question. 
If, ignoring history, you merely take a cross- 
section of the social order at any one moment ; 
and if you thus deal with social groups that 
have little or no history, and confine your 
attention to social processes which occur dur- 
ing a short period of time, — for example, 
during an hour, or a day, or a year, — what 
then is likely to come to your notice takes 
either the predominantly pluralistic form of 
the various relatively independent doings of 
detached individuals, or else the social form 
of the confused activities of a crowd. A 
crowd, whether it be a dangerous mob, or 

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an amiably joyous gathering at a picnic, is 
not a community. It has a mind, but no 
institutions, no organization, no coherent 
unity, no history, no traditions. It may be 
an unit, but is then of the type which suggests 
James's mere blending of various conscious- 
nesses, — a sort of mystical loss of personality 
on the part of its members. Op the other 
hand, a group of independent buyers at mar- 
ket, or of the passers-by in a city street, is 
not a community. And it also does not sug- 
gest to the onlooker any blending of many 
selves in one. Each purchaser seeks his own 
affairs. There may be gossip, but gossip is 
not a function which establishes the life of a 
community. For gossip has a short memory. 
But a true community is essentially a product 
of a time-process. A community has a past 
and will have a future. Its more or less con- 
scious history, real or ideal, is a part of its 
very essence. A community requires for its 
existence a history and is greatly aided in 
its consciousness by a memory. 
If you object that a Pauline church, such as 
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I have so often used as an ideal instance of a 
community, was an institution that had been 
but very recently founded when the apostle 
wrote his epistles, then I reply at once that a 
Pauline church was instructed by the apostle 
to regard its life as a phase in the historical 
process of the salvation of mankind. This 
process, as conceived by Paul and his churches, 
had gone on from Adam unto Moses, from 
Moses unto Christ; and the very life of the 
community was bound up with its philosophy 
of history. That the memory of this com- 
munity was in part legendary is beside the 
point. Its memory was essential to its life, 
and was busy with the fate of all mankind 
and with the course of all time. 

The psychological unity of many selves in 
one community is bound up, then, with the 
consciousness of some lengthy social process 
which has occurred, or is at least supposed 
to have occurred. And the wealthier the 
memory of a community is, and the vaster the 
historical processes which it regards as belong- 
ing to its life, the richer — other things being 

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equal — is its consciousness that it is a com- 
munity, that its members are somehow made 
one in and through and with its own life. 
The Japanese are fond of telling us that 
their imperial family, and their national life, 
are coeval with heaven and earth. The boast 
is cheerfully extravagant ; but its relation to a 
highly developed form of the consciousness 
of a community is obvious. Here, then, is a 
consideration belonging to social psychology, 
but highly important for our understanding of 
the sense in which a community is or can be 
possessed of one mental life. 



K we ask for the reason why such a real or 
fancied history, possessing in general a con- 
siderable length and importance, is psycholog- 
ically needed in case a group consisting of 
many individual human beings is to regard 
itself as an united community, our attention 
is at once called to a consideration which I 
regard as indeed decisive for the whole theory 
of the reality of the community. Obvious 

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as it is, however, this consideration needs to be 
explicitly mentioned, because the complexity 
of the facts often makes us neglect them. 
The rule that time is needed for the forma- 
tion of a conscious community is a rule which 
finds its extremely familiar analogy within the 
life of every individual human self. Each 
one of us knows that he just now, at this in- 
stant, cannot find more than a mere fragment 
of himself present. The self comes down to 
us from its own past. It needs and is a his- 
tory. Each of us can see that his own idea 
of himself as this person is inseparably bound 
up with his view of his own former life, of the 
plans that he formed, of the fortunes that 
fashioned him, and of the accomplishments 
which in turn he has fashioned for himself. 
A self is, by its very essence, a being with a 
past. One must look lengthwise backwards in 
the stream of time in order to see the self, or 
its shadow, now moving with the stream, now 
eddying in the currents from bank to bank of 
its channel, and now strenuously straining on- 
wards in the pursuit of its own chosen good. 

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At this present moment I am indeed here, 
as this creature of the moment, — sundered 
from the other selves. But nevertheless, if 
considered simply in this passing moment of 
my life, I am hardly a self at all. I am just 
a flash of consciousness, — the mere gesticula- 
tion of a self, — not a coherent personality. 
Yet memory Knks me with my own past, — 
and not, in the same way, with the past of 
any one else. This joining of the present to the 
past reveals a more or less steady tendency, — 
a sense about the whole process of my remem- 
bered life. And this tendency and sense of 
my individual life agree, on the whole, with 
the sense and the tendencies that belong to 
the entire flow of the time-stream, so far as it 
has sense at all. My individual life, my 
own more or less well-sundered stream of 
tendency, not only is shut oflF at each present 
moment by various barriers from the lives of 
other selves, — but also constitutes an in- 
telligible sequence in itself, so that, as I look 
back, I can say : "'What I yesterday intended 
to pursue, that I am to-day still pursuing.'* 

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"My present carries farther the plan of my 
past/' Thus, then, I am one more or less 
coherent plan expressed in a life. "The 
child is father to the man/' My days are 
"bound each to each by mutual piety/' 

Since I am this self, not only by reason of 
what now sunders me from the inner lives of 
other selves, but by reason of what links me, 
in significant, fashion, to the remembered ex- 
periences, deeds, plans, and interests of my 
former conscious life, I need a somewhat ex- 
tended and remembered past to furnish the 
opportunity for my self to find, when it looks 
back, a long process that possesses sense and 
coherence. In brief, my idea of myself is an 
interpretation of my past, — linked also with 
an interpretation of my hopes and intentions 
as to my future. 

Precisely as I thus define myself with ref- 
erence to my own past, so my fellows also 
interpret the sense, the value, the qualifica- 
tions, and the possessions of my present self 
by virtue of what are sometimes called my 
antecedents. In the eyes of his fellow-men, 

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the child is less of a self than is the mature 
man; and he is so not merely because the 
child just now possesses a less wealthy and 
eflBcient conscious life than a mature man 
possesses, but because the antecedents of his 
present self are fewer than are the antecedents 
of the present self of the mature man. The 
child has little past. He has accomplished 
httle. The mature man bears the credit 
and the burden of his long Ufe of deeds. His 
former works qualify his present deeds. He 
not only possesses, but in great part is, for 
his fellow-men, a record. 

These facts about our individual self-con- 
sciousness are indeed well known. But they 
remind us that our idea of the individual self 
is no mere present datum, or collection of 
data, but is based upon an interpretation of 
the sense, of the tendency, of the coherence, 
and of the value of a hf e to which belongs the 
memory of its own past. And therefore these 
same facts will help us to see how the idea of 
the community is also an idea which is im- 
pressed upon us whenever we make a sufB- 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

ciently successful and fruitful eflFort to interpret 
the sense, the coherent interest, and the value 
of the relations in which a great number of 
diflferent selves stand to the past. 

XI 

Can many diflferent selves, all belonging 
to the present time, possess identically the 
same past as their own personally interesting 
past life ? This question, if asked about the 
recent past, cannot be answered in the affirma- 
tive, unless one proposes either to ignore or 
in some way to set aside the motives which, 
in our present consciousness, emphasize, as 
we have seen, the pluralism of the social 
selves. Quite diflferent, however, bcicomes 
the possible answer to this question if, with- 
out in the least ignoring our present varieties 
and sunderings, one asks the question con- 
cerning some past time that belongs to pre- 
vious generations of men. For then each 
of two or more men may regard the same fact 
of past life as, in the same sense, a part of his 
own personal life. Two men of the present 

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time may, for instance, have any number of 
ancestors in common. To say this is not to 
ignore the pluralistic view of the selves, but 
only to make mention of familiar facts of de- 
scent. But now if these men take great 
interest in their ancestors, and have a genuine 
or legendary tradition concerning the an- 
cestors, each of the two men of the present 
time may regard the lives, the deeds, the 
glory, and perhaps the spiritual powers or 
the immortal lives of certain ancestors, now 
dwelling in the spirit- world, as a part of his 
own self. Thus, when the individual Maori, 
in New Zealand, in case he still follows the 
old ways, speaks of the legendary canoes in 
which the ancestors of old came over from the 
home land called Hawaiki to New Zealand, he 
says, choosing the name of the canoe accord- 
ing to his own tribe and tradition, "/ came 
over in the canoe Tai-Nui.'' Now any two 
members of a tribe whose legendary ancestors 
came over in Tai-Nui, possess, from their 
own point of view, identically the same past, 
in just this respect. Each of the two men in 

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qViestion has the same reason, good or bad, for 
extending himself into the past, and for saying, 
"I came over in that canoe." Now the belief 
in this identity of the past self of the ancestor 
of the canoe, belonging to each of the two 
New Zealanders, does not in the least depend 
upon ignoring, or upon minimizing, the present 
diflference between these two selves. The 
present consciousnesses do not in the least 
tend to interpenetrate. Neither of the two 
New Zealanders in question need suppose 
that there is now any compounding of con- 
sciousness. Each may keep aloof from the 
other. They may be enemies. But each 
has a reason, and an obvious reason, for ex- 
tending himself into the ancestral past. 

My individual self extends backwards, and 
is identified with my remembered self of 
yesterday, or of former years. This is an 
interpretation of my life which in general 
turns upon the coherence of deeds, plans, in- 
terests, hopes, and spiritual possessions in 
terms of which I learn to define myself. Now 
my remembered past is in general easily to be 

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distinguished from the past of any other self. 
But if I am so interested in the life or in the 
deeds of former generations that I thus ex- 
tend, as the Maori extends, my own self into 
the ancestral past, the self thus extended finds 
that the same identical canoe or ancestor is 
part of my own life, and also part of the 
ideally extended life of some fellow-tribesman 
who is now so diflferent a being, and so sharply 
sundered from my present self. 

Now, in such a case, how shall I best de- 
scribe the unity that, according to this inter- 
pretation of our common past, links my fellow- 
tribesmen and myself? A New Zealander 
says, "'We are of the same canoe/' And a 
more general expression of such relations would 
be to say, in all similar cases, "'We are of the 
same community/' 

In this case, then, the real or supposed 
identity of certain interesting features in a 
past which each one of two or of many men 
regards as belonging to his own historically 
extended former self, is a ground for saying 
that all these many, although now just as 

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various and as sundered as they are, con- 
stitute, with reference to this common past, a 
community. When defined in such terms, 
the concept of the community loses its mys- 
tical seeming. It depends indeed upon an 
interpretation of the significance of facts, and 
does not confine itself to mere report of par- 
ticulars; but it does not ignore the present 
varieties of experience. It depends also upon 
an interpretation which does not merely say, 
"These events happened," but adds, ''These 
events belong to the life of this self or of this 
other self.'' Such an interpretation we all 
daily make in speaking of the past of our own 
familiar individual selves. The process which 
I am now using as an illustration, — the pro- 
cess whereby the New Zealander says, "I 
came over in that canoe,'' — extends the 
quasi-personal memory of each man into an 
historical past that may be indefinitely long 
and vast. But such an extension has motives 
which are not necessarily either mystical or 
monistic. We all share those motives, and 
use them, in our own way, and according. to 

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our ideals, whenever we consider the history 
of our country, or of mankind, or of whatever 
else seems to us to possess a history that is 

significantly linked with our personal history. 

•A 

XII 

Just as each one of many present selves, 
despite the psychological or ethical barriers 
which now keep all of these selves sundered, 
may accept the same past fact or event as a 
part of himself, and say, "That belonged to my 
life,'' even so, each one of many present 
selves, despite these same barriers and sun- 
derings, may accept the same future event, 
which all of them hope or expect, as part of 
his own personal future. Thus, during a war, 
all of the patriots of one of the contending 
nations may regard the termination of the 
war, and the desired victory of their country, 
so that each one says: "I shall rejoice in 
the expected surrender of that stronghold 
of the enemy. That surrender will be my 
triumph/' 

Now when many contemporary and dis- 

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tinct individual selves so interpret, each his 
own personal life, that each says of an individ- 
ual past or of a determinate future event or 
deed: "That belongs to my life;'' "That 
occurred, or will occur, to me,'' then these 
many selves may be defined as hereby con- 
stituting, in a perfectly definite and objective, 
but also in a highly significant, sense, a com- 
munity. They may be said to constitute a 
community with reference to that particular 
past or future event, or group of events, which 
each of them accepts or interprets as belonging 
to his own personal past or to his own individ- 
ual future. A community constituted by the 
fact that each of its members accepts as part 
of his own individual Uf e and self the same 
Tpast events that each of his fellow-members 
accepts, may be called a community of Toemory. 
Such is any group of persons who individually 
either remember or commemorate the same 
dead, — each one finding, because of personal 
aflfection or of reverence for the dead, that 
those whom he commemorates form for him 
a part of his own past existence. 

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A community constituted by the fact that 
each of its members accepts, as part of his 
own individual life and self, the same expected 
Jviure events that each of his fellows accepts, 
may be called a community of expectation^ or 
upon occasion, a community of hope. 

A community, whether of memory or of 
hope, exists relatively to the past or future 
facts to which its several members stand in 
the common relation just defined. The con- 
cept of the community depends upon the in- 
terpretation which each individual member 
gives to his own self, — to his own past, — 
and to his own future. Every one of us does, 
for various reasons, extend his interpretation 
of his own individual self so that from his 
own point of view, his life includes many far- 
away temporal happenings. The complex 
motives of such interpretations need not now 
be further examined. Enough, — these mo- 
tives may vary from self to self with all the 
wealth of life. Yet when these interests of 
each self lead it to accept any part or item of 
the same past or the same future which an- 

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other self accepts as its own, — then pluralism 
of the selves is perfectly consistent with their 
forming a community, either of memory or 
of hope. How rich this community is in 
meaning, in value, in membership, in signifi- 
cant organization, will depend upon the selves 
that enter into the community, and upon the 
ideals in terms of which they define themselves, 
their past, and their future. 

With this definition in mind, we see why 
long histories are needed in order to define 
the life of great communities. We also see 
that, if great new undertakings enter into the 
lives of many men, a new community of hope, 
unified by the common relations of its individ- 
ual members to the same future events, may 
be, upon occasion, very rapidly constituted, 
even in the midst of great revolutions. 

The concept of the community, as thus 
analyzed, stands in the closest relation to the 
whole nature of the time-process, and also 
involves recognizing to the full both the exist- 
ence and the significance of individual selves. 
In what sense the individual selves constitute 

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the community we can in general see, while 
we are prepared to find that, for the individual 
selves, it may well prove to be the case that a 
real community of memory or of hope is neces- 
sary in order to secure their significance. 
Our own definition of a community can be 
illustrated by countless types of poUtical, re- 
ligious, and other significant communities 
which you will readily be able to select for 
yourselves. Without ignoring our ordinary 
social plurahsm, this definition shows how and 
why many selves may be viewed as actually 
brought together in an historical community. 
Without presupposing any one metaphysical 
interpretation of experience, or of time, our 
definition shows where, in our experience and 
in our interpretation of the time-process, we 
are to look for a solution of the problem of the 
community. Without going beyond the facts 
of human Ufe, of human memory, and of hu- 
man interpretation of the self and of its past, 
our definition clears the way for a study of the 
constitution of the* real world of the spirit. 



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X 

THE BODY AND THE MEMBEEIS 



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LECTURE X 

THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

HENCEFORTH, in these lectures, I 
shall restrict the application of the term 
"community'' to those social groups which 
conform to the definition stated at the close 
of our last lecture. Not every social group 
which behaves so that, to an observer, it 
seems to be a single unit, meets all the condi- 
tions of our definition. Our new use of the 
term " community *' will therefore be more 
precise and restricted than was our earlier 
employment of the word. But our definition 
will clear the way for further generalizations. 
It will enable us to express our reasons for 
much that, in our study of the Christian doc- 
trine of life, had to be stated dogmatically, 
and illustrated rather than intimately ex- 
amined. 

We have repeatedly spoken of two levels of 
human life, the level of the individual and the 
level of the community. We have now in our 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

hands the means for giving a more precise 
sense to this expression, and for furnishing 
a further verification of what we asserted 
about these two levels of hfe. We have also 
repeatedly emphasized the ethical and reli- 
gious significance of loyalty; but our defini- 
tion will help us to throw clearer light upon 
the sources of this worth. And by thus 
sharpening the outlines of our picture of what a 
real community is, we shall be made ready to 
consider whether the concept of the com- 
mimity possesses a more than human signifi- 
cance. Let us recall our new definition to 
mind, and then apply it to our main problems. 



Our definition presupposes that there exist 
many individual selves. Suppose these selves 
to vary in their present experiences and pur- 
poses as widely as you will. Imagine them 
to be sundered from one another by such 
chasms of mutual mystery and independence 
as, in our natural social life, often seem hope- 
lessly to divide and secrete the inner world 

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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

of each of us from the direct knowledge and 
estimate of his fellows. But let these selves 
be able to look beyond their present chaos of 
fleeting ideas and of warring desires, far away 
into the past whence they came, and into the 
future whither their hopes lead them. As 
they thus look, let each one of them ideally 
enlarge his own individual Ufe, extending 
himself into the past and future, so as to say 
of some far-off event, belonging, perhaps, to 
other generations of men, "I view that event 
as a part of my own life.'' "That former 
happening or achievement so predetermined 
the sense and the destiny which are now mine, 
that I am moved to regard it as belonging 
to my own past.'' Or again: "For that 
coming event I wait and hope as an event of 
my own future." 

And further, let the various ideal extensions, 
forwards and backwards, include at least one 
common event, so that each of these selves 
regards that event as a part of his own life. 

Then, vrith reference to the ideal common past 
and future in question^ I say that these selves 

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THE PROBLEM OP CHRISTIANITY 

constitute a community. This is henceforth 
' to be our definition of a community. The 
present variety of the selves who are the mem- 
bers of the spiritual body so defined, is not 
hereby either annulled or slighted. The mo- 
tives which determine each of them thus 
ideally to extend his own life, may vary from 
self to self in the most manifold fashion. 

Our definition will enable us, despite all 
these varieties of the members, to understand 
in what ^ense any such community as we have 
defined exists, and is one. 

Into this form, which, when thus summarily 
described, seems so abstract and empty, life 
can and does pour the rich contents and 
ideals which make the communities of our 
human world so full of dramatic variety and 
significance. 

n 

The^r^^ condition upon which the existence 
of a community, in our sense of the word, de- 
pends, is the power of an individual self to 
extend his Ufe, in ideal fashion, so as to regard 

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it as including past and future events which 
Ke far away in time, and which he does not now 
personally remember. That this power exists, 
and that man has a self which is thus ideally 
extensible in time without any definable limit, 
we all know. 

This power itself rests upon the principle 
that, however a man may come by his idea 
of himself, the self is no mere datum, but is in 
its essence a life which is interpreted, and 
which interprets itself, and which, apart from 
some sort of ideal interpretation, is a mere 
flight of ideas, or a meaningless flow of feelings, 
or a vision that sees nothing, or else a barren 
abstract conception. How deep the process 
of interpretation goes in determining the real 
nature of the self, we shall only later be able to 
estimate. 

There is no doubt that what we usually 
call our personal memory does indeed give us 
assurances regarding our own past, so far as 
memory extends and is trustworthy. But 
our trust in our memories is itself an interpre- 
tation of their data. All of us regard as be- 

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longing, even to our recent past Kfe, much 
that we cannot just now remember. And 
the future self shrinks and expands with our 
hopes and our energies. No one can merely, 
from without, set for us the Umits of the life 
of the self, and say to us : "Thus far and no 
farther.'' 

In my ideal extensions of the Kfe of the self, 
I am indeed subject to some sort of control, — 
to what control we need not here attempt to 
formulate. I must be able to give myself 
some sort of reason, personal, or social, or 
moral, or rehgious, or metaphysical, for taking 
on or throwing off the burden, the joy, the 
grief, the guilt, the hope, the glory of past and 
of future deeds and experiences ; but I must 
also myself personally share in this task of 
determining how much of the past and the 
future shall ideally enter into my Uf e, and shall 
contribute to the value of that Kfe. 

And if I choose to say, "There is a sense 
in which all the tragedy and the attainment 
of an endless past and future of deeds and of 
fortunes enter into my own life/' I say only 

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what saints and sages of the most various 
creeds and experiences have found their several 
reasons for saying. The fact and the impor- 
tance of such ideal extensions of the self must 
therefore be recognized. Here is the first 
basis for every clear idea of what constitutes 
a community. 

The ideal extensions of the self may also 
include, as is well known, not only past and 
future events and deeds, but also physical 
things, whether now existent or not, and many 
other sorts of objects which are neither events 
nor deeds. The knight or the samurai re- 
garded his sword as a part of himself. One's 
treasures and one's home, one's tools, and the 
things that one's hands have made, frequently 
come to be interpreted as part of the self. 
And any object in heaven or earth may be 
thus ideally appropriated by a given self. 
The ideal self of the Stoic or of the Mystic 
may, in various fashions, identify its will, 
or its very essence, with the whole universe. 
The Hindoo seer seeks to realize the words: 
"I am Brahm;" "That art thou." 

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In case such ideal extensions of the self are 
consciously bound up with deeds, or with 
other events, such as belong to the past or 
future Kfe which the self regards as its own, 
our definition of the community warrants us 
in saying that many selves form one com- 
munity when all are ideally extended so as to 
include the same object. But unless the ideal 
extensions of the self thus consciously involve 
past and future deeds and events that have 
to do with the objects in question, we shall 
not use these extensions to help us to define 
communities. ^ 

For our purposes, the community is a being 
that attempts to accomplish something in 
time and through the deeds of its members. 
These deeds belong to the life which each 
member regards as, in ideal, his own. It is 
in this way that both the real and the ideal 
Church are intended by the members to be com- 
munities in our sense. An analogous truth 
holds for such other communities as we shall 
need to consider. The concept of the com- 
munity is thus, for our purposes, a practical 

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conception. It involves the idea of deeds 
done, and ends sought or attained. Hence I 
shall define it in terms of members who them- 
selves not only Uve in time, but conceive their 
own ideally extended personalities in terms of 
a time-process. In so far as these personalities 
possess a life that is for each of them his own, 
while it is, in some of its events, common to 
them all, they form a community. 

Nothing important is lost, for our concep- 
tion of the community, by this formal re- 
striction, whereby common objects belong to 
a conmaunity only when these objects are 
bound up with the deeds of the community. 
For, when the warrior regards his sword as a 
part of himself, he does so because his sword is 
the instrument of his will, and because what 
he does with his sword belongs to his Uteral or 
ideal life. Even the mystic accompUshes his 
identification of the self and the world only 
through acts of renunciation or of inward 
triumph. And these acts are the goal of his 
life. Until he attains to them, they form 
part of his ideal future self. Whenever he 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

fully accomplishes these crowning acts of 
identification, the separate self no longer 
exists. When knights or mystics form a 
community, in our sense, they therefore do so 
because they conceive of deeds done, in com- 
mon, with their swords, or of mystical attain- 
ments that all of them win together. 

Thus then, while no authoritative limit can 
be placed upon the ideal extensions of the self 
in time, those extensions of the self which 
need be considered for the purposes of our 
theory of the community are indeed extensions 
in time, past or future; or at all events in- 
volve such extensions in time. 

Memory and hope constantly incite us to 
the extensions of the self which play so large a 
part in our daily life. Social motives of end- 
lessly diverse sort move us to consider "far 
and forgot '^ as if to us it were near, when we 
view ourselves in the vaster perspectives of 
time. It is, in fact, the ideally extended self, 
and not, in general, the momentary self, whose 
life is worth living, whose sense outlasts our 
fleeting days, and whose destiny may be 

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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

worthy of the interest of beings who are above 
the level of human individuals. The present 
self, the fleeting individual of to-day, is a 
mere gesticulation of a self. The genuine 
person lives in the far-off past and future as 
well as in the present. It is, then, the ideally 
extended self that is worthy to belong to a 
significant community. 

Ill 

The second condition upon which the exist- 
ence of a community depends is the fact that 
there are in the social world a number of dis- 
tinct selves capable of social communication, 
and, in general, engaged in communication. 

The distinctness of the selves we have illus- 
trated at length in our previous discussion. 
We need not here dwell upon the matter fur- 
ther, except to say, expressly, that a com- 
munity does not become one, in the sense of 
my definition, by virtue of any reduction or 
melting of these various selves into a single 
merely present self, or into a mass of passing 
experience. That mystical phenomena may 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

indeed form part of the life of a community, 
just as they may also form part of the life 
of an individual human being, I fully recognize. 

About such mystical or quasi-mystical phe- 
nomena, occurring in their own community, 
the Corinthians consulted Paul. And Paul, 
whose implied theory of the community is 
one which my own definition closely follows, 
assured them in his reply that mystical phe- 
nomena are not essential to the existence of 
the community; and that it is on the whole 
better for the life of such a community as he 
was addressing, if the individual member, 
instead of losing himself "in a mystery,'" 
kept his own individuaUty, in order to con- 
tribute his own edifying gift to the common 
life. Wherein this common life consists we 
have yet further to see in what follows. 

The third of the conditions for the existence 
of the community which my definition em- 
phasizes consists in the fact that the ideally 
extended past and future selves of the mem- 
bers include at least some events which are, 
for all these selves, identical. This third con- 

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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

dition is the One which furnishes both the 
most exact, the most widely variable, and the 
most important of the motives which warrant 
us in calUng a community a real unit. The 
Pauline metaphor of the body and the mem- 
bers finds, in this third condition, its most 
significant basis, — a basis capable of exact 
description. 

IV 

In addition to the instance which I cited at 
the last time, when I mentioned the New 
Zealanders and their legendary canoes, other 
and much more important illustrations may 
here serve to remind us how a single common 
past or future event may be the central means 
of uniting many selves in one spiritual com- 
munity. For the Pauline churches the ideal 
memory of their Lord's death and resurrec- 
tion, defined in terms of the faith which the 
missionary apostle delivered to them in his 
teaching, was, for each beUever, an acknowl- 
edged occurrence in his own past. For each 
one was taught the faith, "In that one 



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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

event my individual salvation was accom- 
plished." 

This faith has informed ever since the ideal 
memory upon which Christian tradition has 
most of all depended for the establishment and 
the preservation of its own community. If 
we speak in terms of social psychology, we 
are obliged, I think, to regard this belief as 
the product of the life of the earUest Christian 
community itself. But once established, and 
then transmitted from generation to genera- 
tion, this same belief has been ceaselessly 
recreative of the communities of each suc- 
ceeding age. And the various forms of the 
Christian Church, — its hierarchical institu- 
tions, its schisms, its reformations, its sects, 
its heresies, have been varied, differentiated, 
or divided, or otherwise transformed, accord- 
ing as the individual believers who made up 
any group of followers of Christian tradition 
have conceived, each his own personal life 
as including and as determined by that one 
ideal event thus remembered, namely, his 
Lord's death and resurrection. 

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Since the early Church was aware of this 
dependence of its community upon its memory, 
it instinctively resisted every effort to deprive 
that memory of definiteness, to explain it 
away as the Gnostic heresies did, or to trans- 
form it from a memory into any sort of con- 
scious allegory. The idealized memory, the 
backward looking faith of an individual 
believer, must relate to ^events that seem to 
him living and concrete. Hence the early 
Church insisted upon the words, "Suffered 
under Pontius Pilate/' The religious instinct 
which thus insisted was true to its own needs. 
A very definite event must be viewed by each 
believer as part of the history of his own 
personal salvation. Otherwise the com- 
munity would lose its coherence. 

Paul himself, despite his determination to 
know Christ, not "after the flesh," but "after 
the Spirit,"" was unhesitating and uncom- 
promising with regard to so much of the ideal 
Christian memory as he himself desired each 
believer to carry clearly in mind. Only by 
such common memories could the community 

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be constituted. To be sure, the Apostle's 
Christology, on its more metaphysical side, 
cared little for such more precise technical 
formulations as later became historically im- 
portant for the Church that formulated its 
creeds. But the events which Paul regarded 
as essential to salvation must be, as he held, 
plainly set down. 

Since human memory is naturally sustained 
by commemorative acts, Paul laid the greatest 
possible stress upon the Lord's Supper, and 
made the proper ordering thereof an essential 
part of his ideal as a teacher. In this act of 
commemoration, wherein each member re- 
called the origin of his own salvation, the 
community maintained its united life. 



The early Church was, moreover, not only 
a community of memory, but a community 
of hope. Since, if the community was to 
exist, and to be vigorously alive, each believer 
must keep definite his own personal hope, while 
the event for which all hoped must be, for 

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all, an identical event, something more was 
needed, in Paul's account of the coming end 
of the world, than the more dimly conceived 
common judgment had hitherto been in the 
minds of the Corinthians to whom Paul 
wrote. And therefore the grfeat chapter on 
'the resurrection emphasizes equally the com- 
mon resurrection of all, and the very explic- 
itly individual immortality of each man. 
Paul use4 both the resurrection of Christ, 
and the doctrine of the spiritual body, to give 
the sharpest possible outlines to a picture 
which has ever since dominated not only the* 
traditional Christian religious imagination, but 
the ideal of the united Church triumphant. 

Nowhere better than in this very chapter 
can one find an example of the precise way in 
which the fully developed consciousness of a 
community solves its own problem of the one 
and the many, by clearly conceiving both the 
diversity of the members and the unity of 
the body in terms of the common hope for 
the same event. 

The Apostle had to deal with the doctrine 
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of the immortality of the individual man, 
and also with the corporate relations of 
humanity and of the Church to death and to 
the end of all things. The most pathetic 
private concerns and superstitions of men, 
the most conflicting ideas of matter, of spirit, 
and of human solidarity, had combined, in 
those days, to confuse the religious ideas 
which entered into the life of the early Church, 
when the words "death and resurrection" 
were in question. The Apostle himself was 
heir to a seemingly hopeless tangle of ancient 
and more or less primitive opinions regarding 
the human self and the cosmos, regarding the 
soul and the future. 

A mystery-religion of PauFs own time might, 
and often did, assure the individual initiate 
of his own immortality. The older Messianic 
hope, of its successor in the early Christian 
consciousness, might be expressed, and was 
often expressed, in a picture wherein all 
mankind were together called before the 
judgment seat at the end. But minds whose 
ideas upon such topics came from various 

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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

and bewildering sources, — minds such as 
those of Paul's Corinthians, might, and did, 
inquire: "What will personally happen to 
me ? What will happen to all mankind ? '' 
The very contrast between these two ques- 
tions was, at that time, novel. The growing 
sense of the significance of the individual 
self was struggling against various more or 
less mystical identifications of all mankind 
with Adam, or with some one divine or 
demonic power or spirit. Such a struggle 
still goes on to-day. 

But Paul's task it was, in writing this 
chapter, to clarify his own religious con- 
sciousness, and to guide his readers through the 
mazes of human hope and fear to some pre- 
cise view, both of human solidarity and 
individual destiny. His method consisted 
in a definition of his whole problem in terms 
of the relation between the individual, the 
community, and the divine being whom he 
conceived as the very life of this community. 
He undertook to emphasize the individual 
self, and yet to insist upon the unity of the 

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Church and of its Lord. He made perfectly 
clear in each believer's mind the idea: "I 
myself, and not another, am to witness and 
to take part in this last great change/' To 
this end Paul made use of the conception of 
the individual spiritual body of each man. 
But Paul also dwelt with equal decisiveness 
upon the thought, "This last event of the 
present world is to be, for all of us, one event ; 
for we shall all together arise/' 

These two main thoughts of the great 
chapter are in the exposition clearly con- 
trasted and united; and against this well- 
marked background Paul can then place state- 
ments about humanity viewgd-as one cor- 
porate entity, — monistic formujationisr^o to 
speak, — and can do this without fe^r of 
being misunderstood: "The first man Adam 
became a living soul. The Jast Adam be- 
came a quickening spirit. The first man is 
of the earth, earthy; the second man is the 
Lord from heaven." What these more mo- 
nistic statements about mankind as one cor- 
porate entity are to mean, is made clear simply 

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by teaching each believer to say, "I shall 
myself arise, with my own transformed and 
incorruptible body;" and also to say, "This 
event of the resurrection is one for all of us, 
for we shall arise together/' 

In such expressions Paul uses traditions 
whose sources were indeed obscure and whose 
meaning was, as one might have supposed, 
hopelessly ambiguous. The interpretations 
of these traditions on Paul's part might have 
been such as to lose sight of the destiny of 
the individual human being through a more or 
less mystical blending of the whole race. 
That would have been natural for a mind 
trained to think of Adam and of mankind as 
Paul was trained. Or, again, the interpre- 
tation might have taken the form of assuring 
the individual believer that he could win his 
own immortality, while leaving him no further 
ground for special interest in the community. 
Paul's religious genius aims straight at the 
central problem of clearing away this ambi- 
guity, and of defining the immortal life, both 
of the individual and of the community. 

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In the expected resurrection, as Paul pictures 
it, the individual finds his own life, and the 
community its common triumph over all 
the world-old powers of death. And the hope 
is referred back again to the memory. Was 
not Christ raised ? By this synthesis Paul 
solves his religious problem, and defines 
sharply the relation of the individual and the 
community. 

And therefore, whenever, upon the familiar 
solemn occasions, this chapter is read, not 
only is individual sorrow bidden to transform 
itself into an unearthly hope ; but even upon 
earth the living and conscious community of 
the faithful celebrates the present oneness of 
spirit in which it triumphs. And the death 
over which it triumphs is the death of the 
lonely individual, whom faith beholds raised 
to the imperishable life in the spirit. This 
life in the spirit is also the life of the com- 
munity. For the individual is saved, accord- 
ing to Paul, only in and through and with 
the community and its Lord. 



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VI 

Our present interest in these classic reli- 
gious illustrations of the idea of the com- 
munity is not directly due to their historical 
importance as pftrts of Christian tradition; 
but depends upon the help which they give us 
in seeing how a community, whether it be 
Christian or not, can really constitute a single 
entity, despite the multiplicity of its members. 
Our illustrations have brought before us the 
fact that hope and memory constitute, in com- 
munities, a basis for an unquestionable con- 
sciousness of unity, and that this conunon life 
in time does not annul the variety of the in- 
dividual members at any one present moment. 

We have still to see, however, the degree 
to which this consciousness of unity can find 
expression in an effectively united common 
life which not only contains common events, 
but also possesses common deeds and can 
arouse a common love — a love which passes 
the love wherewith individuals can love one 
another. 

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And here we reach that aspect of the con- 
ception of the community which is the most 
important, and also the most difficult aspect. 

VII 

A great and essentially dramatic event, 
such as the imagined resurrection of the 
bodies of all men, — an event which interests 
all, and which fixes the attention by its mirac- 
ulous apparition, — is well adapted to illustrate 
the union of the one and the many in the 
process of time. When Paul's genius seized 
upon this picture, — when, to use the well- 
known later scholastic phraseology, the spirits 
of men were thus "individuated by their 
bodies," even while the event of the resurrec- 
tion fixed the eye of faith upon one final 
crisis through which all were to pass "in a 
moment, in the twinkling of an eye," — when 
the Apostle thus instructed the faithful, a 
great lesson was also taught regarding the 
means whereby the ideal of a community and 
the harmonious union of the one and the 
many can be rendered brilliantly clear to the 

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imagination, and decisively fascinating to the 
will. 

But the lives of communities cannot consist 
of miraculous crises. A community, like an 
individual self, must learn to keep the con- 
sciousness of its xmity through the vicissitudes 
of an endlessly shifting and often dreary 
fortune. The monotony of insignificant 
events, the chaos of lesser conflicts, the fric- 
tion and the bickerings of the members, 
the individual failures and the mutual mis- 
understandings which make the members of 
a community forget the common past and 
futiwe, — all these things work against the 
conscious unity of the life of a community. 
Memory and hope are alike clouded by multi- 
tudes of such passing events. The individual 
members cannot always recall the sense in 
which they identify their own lives and selves 
with what has been, or with what is yet to 
come. 

And — hardest task of all — the members, 
if they are to conceive clearly of the common 
life, must somehow learn to bear in mind not 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

merely those grandly simple events which, 
like great victories, or ancestral feats, or 
divine interferences, enter into the life of the 
community from without, and thus make 
their impression all at once. 

No, the true common life of the community 
consists of deeds which are essentially of the 
nature of processes of cooperation. That is, 
the common life consists of deeds which many 
members perform together, as when the work- 
men in a factory labor side by side. 

Now we all know that cooperation constantly 
occurs, and is necessary to every form and 
grade of society. We also know that com- 
merce and industry and art and custom and 
language consist of vast complexes of cooper- 
ations. And in all such cases many men 
manage in combination to accomplish what 
no one man, and no multitude of men working 
separately, could conceivably bring to pass. 
But what we now need to see is the way in 
which such cooperations can become part, 
not only of the life, but of the consciousness 
of a community. 

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VIII 

Every instance of a process of cooperation 
is an event, or a sequence of events. And 
our definition of a community requires that, 
if such cooperative activities are to be re- 
garded as the deeds of a community, there 
must be individuals, each one of whom says : 
^^That cooperation, in which many distinct 
individuals take part, and in which I also 
take part, is, or was, or will be, an event in 
my life." And many coSperating individuals 
must agree in saying this of the same process 
in which they all cooperate. 

And all must extend such identifications of 
the self with these social activities far into 
the past, or into the future* 

But it is notoriously hard — especially in 
our modem days of the dreary complexity 
of mechanical labor — for any individual man 
so to survey, and so to take interest in a vast 
cooperative activity that he says: "In my 
own ideally extended past and future that 
activity, its history, its future, its significance 

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as an event or sequence of events, all have 
their ideally significant part. That activity, 
as the cooperation of many in one work, is 
also my life." To say such things and to 
think such thoughts grow daily harder for 
most of the coworkers of a modern social 
order. 

Hence, as is now clear, the existence of a 
highly organized social life is by no means 
identical with the existence of what is, in our 
present and restricted sense, the life of a true 
community. On the contrary, and for the 
most obvious reasons, there is a strong mutual 
opposition between the social tendencies which 
secure cooperation on a vast scale, and the 
very conditions which so interest the indi- 
vidual in the conunon life of his community 
that it forms part of his own ideally extended 
life. We met with that opposition between 
the more or less mechanically cooperative 
social life, — the life of the social will on the 
one side, and the life of the true conmiunity 
on the other side, — when we were consider- 
ing the Pauline doctrine of. the law in an 

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earlier lecture. In fact, it is the original sin 
of any highly developed civilization that it 
breeds cooperation at the expense of a loss 
of interest in the community. 

The failure to see the reason why this 
opposition between the tendency to co5pera- 
tion and the spirit of the community exists; 
the failure to sound to the depths the origi- 
nal sin of man the social animal, and of the 
natural social order which he creates; — 
such failure, I repeat, lies at the basis of 
countless misinterpretations, both of our mod- 
em social problems, and of the nature of a 
true commimity, and of the conditions which 
make possible any wider philosophical gen- 
eralizations of the idea of the commimity. 

IX 

Men do not form a community, in our 
present restricted sense of that word, merely 
in so far as the men co5perate. They form 
a conununity, in our present limited sense, 
when they not only cooperate, but accompany 
this coSperation with that ideal extension of 

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the lives of individuals whereby each cooperat- 
ing member says: "This activity, which we 
perform together, this work of ours, its past, 
its future, its sequence, its order, its sense, — 
all these enter into my life, and are the 
life of my own self writ large/' 

Now cooperation results from conditions 
which a social psychology such as that of 
Wundt or of Tarde may analyze. Imitation 
and rivalry, greed and ingenuity, business 
and pleasure, war and industry, may all 
combine to make men so coOperate that very 
large groups of them behave, to an external 
observer, as if they were units. In the 
broader sense of the term " commimity,*' all 
social groups that behave as if they were 
units are regarded as communities. And we 
ourselves called all such groups commimities 
in our earlier lectures before we came to our 
new definition. 

But we have now been led to a narrower 
application of the term "community.'' It is 
an application to which we have restricted 
the term simply because of our special pur- 
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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

pose in this inquiry. Using this restricted 
definition of the term "community," we see 
that groups which coSperate may be very 
far from constituting communities in our 
narrower sense. We also see how, in general, 
a group whose cooperative activities are 
very highly complex will require a corre- 
spondingly long period of time to acquire that 
sort of tradition and of common expectation 
which is needed to constitute a community 
in our sense, — that is, a community conscious 
of its own life. 

Owing to the psychological conditions upon 
which social cooperation depends, such co- 
operation can very far outstrip, in the com- 
plexity of its processes, the power of any 
individual man's wit to understand its in- 
tricacies. In modern times, when social co- 
operation both uses and is so largely dominated 
by the industrial arts, the physical conditions 
of cooperative social life have combined with 
the psychological conditions to make any 
thorough understanding of the cooperative 
processes upon which we all depend simply 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

hopeless for the individual, except within 
some narrow range. Experts become well 
acquainted with aspects of these forms of 
cooperation which their own callings involve. 
Less expert workers understand a less range 
of the cooperative processes in which they 
take part. Most individuals, in most of 
their work, have to cooperate as the cogs 
cooperate in the wheels of a mechanism. 
They work together; but few or none of 
them know how they cooperate, or what 
they must do. 

But the true community, in our present 
restricted sense of the word, depends for its 
genuine common life upon such cooperative 
activities that ^ the individuals who partici- 
pate in these common activities understand 
enough to be able, first, to direct their own 
deeds of cooperation; secondly, to observe 
the deeds of their individual fellow workers, 
and thirdly to know that, without just this 
combination, this order, this interaction of 
the coworking selves, just this deed could not 
be accomplished by the conmaunity* So, for 

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instance, ia chorus or an orchestra carries on 
its cooperative activities. In these cases 
cooperation is a conscious art. If hereupon 
these cooperative deeds, thus understood by 
the individual coworker, are viewed by him 
as linked, through an extended history with 
past and future deeds of the community, and 
if he then identifies his own life with this 
common life, and if his fellow members agree 
in this identification, then indeed the com- 
mimity both has a common life, and is aware 
of the fact. For then the individual co- 
worker not only says: "This past and 
future fortune of the community belongs to 
my life;" but also declares : "This past and 
future deed of cooperation belongs to my 
life." "This, which none of us could have 
done alone, — this, which all of us together 
could not have accomplished unless we were 
ordered and linked in precisely this way, — 
this we together accomplished, or shall yet 
accomplish ; and this deed of all of us belongs 
to my life." 
A community thus constituted is essentially 

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a community of those who are artists in some 
form of cooperation, and whose art consti- 
tutes, for each artist, his own ideally extended 
life. But the life of an artist depends upon 
his love for his art. 

The community is made possible by the 
fact that each member includes in his own 
ideally extended life the deeds of cooperation 
which the members accomplish. When these 
deeds are hopelessly complex, how shall the 
individual member be able to regard them 
as genuinely belonging to his own ideally 
extended life ? He can no longer understand 
them in any detail. He takes part in them, 
willingly or unwillingly. He does so because 
he is social, and because he must. He works 
in his factory, or has his share, whether 
greedily or honestly, in the world's commercial 
activities. And his cooperations may be 
skilful; and this fact also he may know. 
But his skill is largely due to external training, 
not to inner expansion of the ideals of the 
self. And the more complex the social order 
grows, the more all this cooperation must 

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tend to appear to the individual as a mere 

process of nature, and not as his own work, — 

* 
as a mechanism and not as an ideal extension 

of himself, — unless indeed love supplies what 

individual wit can no longer accomplish. 

X 

If a social order, however complex it may 
be, actually wins and keeps the love of its 
members ; so that, — however little they 
are able to understand the details of their 
present cooperative activities, — they still 
— with all their whole hearts and their minds 
and their souls, and their strength — desire, 
each for himself, that such cooperations should 
go on ; and if each member, looking back to 
the past, rejoices in the ancestors and the 
heroes who have made the present life of 
this social group possible; and if he sees in 
these deeds of former generations the source 
and support of his present love ; and if each 
member also looks forward with equal love 
to the future, — then indeed love furnishes 
that basis for the consciousness of the com- 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

munity which intelligence, without love, in a 
highly complex social realm, can no longer 
furnish. Such love — such loyalty — de- 
pends not upon losing sight of the variety of 
the callings of individuals, but upon seeing 
in the successful cooperation of all the mem- 
bers precisely that event which the individual 
member most eagerly loves as his own fulfil- 
ment. 

When love of the community, nourished by 
common memories, and common hope, both 
exists and expresses itself in devoted individual 
lives, it can constantly tend, despite the 
complexity of the present social order, to keep 
the consciousness of the community alive. 
And when this takes place, the identification 
of the loyal individual self with the life of the 
community will tend, both in ideal and in 
feeling, to identify each self not only with the 
distant past and future of the community, 
but with the present activities of the whole 
social body. 

Thus, for instance, when the complexities 
of business life, and the dreariness of the 

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factory, have, to our minds, deprived our 
present social cooperations of all or of most of 
their common significance, the great communal 
or national festivity, bringing to memory the 
great events of past and future, not only 
makes us, for tKe moment, feel and think as 
a community with reference to those great 
past and futiu'e events, but in its turn, as a 
present event, reacts upon next day's ordi- 
nary labors. The festivity says to us: 
"We are one because of our common past and 
future, because of the national heroes and 
victories and hopes, and because we love 
all these common memories and hopes/' 
Our next day's mood, consequent upon the 
festivity, bids us say: "Since we are thus 
possessed of this beloved common past and 
future, let this consciousness lead each of us 
even to-day to extend his ideal self so as 
to include the daily work of all his fellows, 
and to view his fellow members' life as his 
own." 

Thus memory and hope tend to react upon 
the present self, which finds the brotherhood 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

of present labor more significant, and the 
ideal identification of the present self with the 
self of the neighbor easier, because the ideal 
extension of the self into past and future 
has preceded. 

And so, first, each of us* learns to say: 
"This beloved past and future life, by virtue 
of the ideal extension, is my own Ufe." Then, 
finding that our fellows have and love this 
past and future in common with us, we learn 
further to say: "In this respect we are all 
one loving and beloved community." Then 
we take a further step and say: "Since we 
are all members of this community, there- 
fore, despite our differences, and our mu- 
tual sunderings of inner life, each of us can, 
and will, ideally extend his present self so as 
to include the present Ufe and deeds of his 
fellow." 

So it is that, in the ideal church, each 
member not only looks backwards to the same 
history of salvation as does his fellow, but is 
even thereby led to an ideal identification of 
his present self with that of his fellow member 

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that would not otherwise be possible. Thus, 
then, common memory and common hope, the 
central possessions of the community, tend, 
when enUvened by love, to mould the con- 
sciousness of the present, and to Unk each 
member to his community by ideal ties which 
belong to the moment as well as to the stream 
of past and future life. 

XI 

Love, when it exists and triumphs over the 
complexities which obscure and confuse the 
common Ufe, thus completes the conscious- 
ness of the community, in the forms which 
that consciousness can assume under human 
conditions. Such love, however, must be 
one that has the common deeds of the com- 
munity as its primary object. No one under- 
stands either the nature of the loyal life, or 
the place of love in the constitution of the 
life of a real community, who conceives such 
love as merely a longing for the mystical 
blending of the selves or for their mutual 
interpenetration, and for that only. Love 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

says to the individual: "So extend your- 
self, in ideal, that you aim, with all your 
heart and your soul and your mind and your 
strength, at that life of perfectly definite deeds 
which never can come to pass unless all the 
members, despite their variety and their 
natural narrowness, are in perfect cooperation. 
Let this hfe be your art and also the art of 
all your fellow members. Let your com- 
munity be as a chorus, and not as a company 
who forget themselves in a common trance.^' 
Nevertheless, as Paul showed in the great 
chapter, such love of the self for the com- 
munity can be and will be not without its 
own mystical element. For since we human 
beings are as narrow in our individual con- 
sciousness as we are, we cannot ideally extend 
ourselves through clearly understanding the 
comphcated social activities in which the 
community is to take part. Therefore our 
ideal extensions of the self, when we love the 
community, and long to reahze its hfe with 
intimacy, must needs take the form of 
acting as if we could survey ^ in some single 

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unity of insight, that wealth and variety and 
connection which, as a fact, we cannot make 
present to our momentary view. Since true 
love is an emotion, and since emotions are 
present aflFections of the self, love, in longing 
for its own increase, and for its own fulfil- 
ment, inevitably longs to find what it loves as 
a fact of experience, and to be in the imme- 
diate presence of its beloved. Therefore, 
the love of a community (a love which, 
as we now see, is devoted to desiring the 
realization of an overwhelmingly vast variety 
and unity of cooperations), is, as an emotiqp, 
discontent with all the present sundering of 
the selves, and with all the present problems 
and mysteries of the social order. Such love, 
then, restless with the narrowness of our 
momentary view of our common life, desires 
this common life to be an immediate presence 
for all of us. Such an immediate presence 
of all the community to all the members 
would be indeed, if it could wholly and simply 
take place, a mere blending of the selves, — 
an interpenetration in which the individuals 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

vanished, and in which, for that very reason, 
the real community would also be lost. 

Love, — the love of PauFs great chapter, 
— the loyalty which stands at the centre of 
the Christian consciousness, — is, as an emo- 
/ tion, a longing for such a mystical blending 

of the selves. This longing is present in 
Paul's account. It is in so far not the whole 
of charity. It is simply the mystical aspect 
of the love for the community. 

But the PauKne charity is not merely an 
emotion. It is an interpretation. The ideal 
extension of the self gets a full and concrete 
meaning only by being actively expressed in 
the new deeds of each individual life. Unless 
each man knows how distinct he is from the 
whole community and from every member of 
it, he cannot render to the community what 
love demands, — namely, the devoted work. 
Love may be mystical, and work should be 
directed by clearly outlined intelligence; but 
the loyal spirit depends upon this union of a 
longing for unity with a will which needs its 
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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

xn 

jThe doctrine of the two levels of human 
existence; the nature of a real community; 
the sense in which there can be, in individual 
human beings, despite their narrowness, their 
variety, and their sundered present lives, a 
genuine consciousness of the life of a com- 
munity whereof they are members: — these 
matters we have now, within our limits, 
interpreted. The time-process, and the ideal 
extensions of the self in this time-process, lie 
at the basis of the whole theory of the com- 
munity. The union and the contrast of the 
one and the many in the community, and the 
relation of the mystical element in our con- 
sciousness of the community to the active in- 
terpretation of the loyal life, these things have 
also been reviewed. Incidentally, so to speak, 
we have suggested further reasons why loyalty, 
whether in its distinctively Christian forms, 
or in any others, is a saving principle whenever 
it appears in an individual human life. For 
in the love of a community the individual ob- 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

tains, for his ideally extended self, precisely the 
unity, the wealth, and the harmony of plan 
which his sundered natural existence never 
supplies. 

Yet it must be not merely admitted, but em- 
phasized, that all such analyses of the sort of life 
and of interpretation upon which communities 
and the loyalty of their members depend, does 
not and cannot explain the origin of loyalty, the 
true sources of grace, and the way in which 
communities of high level come into existence. 

On the contrary, all the foregoing account 
of what a community is shows how the true 
spirit of loyalty, and the highest level of the 
consciousness of a human community, is at 
once so precious, and so difficult to create. 

The individual man naturally, but capri- 
ciously, loves both himself and his fellow-man, 
according as passion,, pity, memory, and hope 
move him. Social training tends to sharpen 
the contrasts between the self and the fellow- 
man; and higher cultivation, under these 
conditions of complicated social cooperation 
which we have just pointed out, indeed makes 

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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

a man highly conscious that he depends upon 
his community, but also renders him equally 
conscious that, as an individual, he is much 
beset by the complexities of the social will, 
and does not always love his commimity, 
or any community. Neither the origin nor 
the essence of loyalty is explained by man's 
tendencies to love his individual fellow-man. 

It is true that, within the limits of his power 
to understand his social order, the conditions 
which mate a man conscious of his community 
also imply that the man should in some re- 
spects identify his life with that. But I may 
well know that the history, the future, the 
whole meaning of my community are bound 
up with my own life ; and yet it is not neces- 
sary that on that account I should whole- 
heartedly love my own life. I may be a pessi- 
mist. Or I may be simply discontented. I 
may desire to escape from the life that I have. 
And I may be aware that my fellows, for the 
most part, also long to escape. 

That the community is above my own in- 
dividual level I shall readily recognize, since 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

the community is indeed vastly more skilful 
and incomparably more powerful than I can 
ever become. But what is thus above me I 
need not on that account be ready wholly to 
love. To be sure, that man is indeed a sad 
victim of a misunderstood life who is himself 
able to be clearly aware of his community, to 
identify its history and its future, at least in 
part, with his own ideally extended life, and 
who is yet wholly unable ever to love the life 
which is thus linked with his own. Yet there 
remains the fate which Paul so emphasized, 
and which has determined the whole history 
of the Christian consciousness : Knowledge of 
the community is not love of the community. 
Love, when it comes, comes as from above. 

Especially is this true of the love of the 
ideal community of all mankind. I can be 
genuinely in love with the community only 
in case I have somehow fallen in love with the 
universe. The problem of love is human. 
The solution of the problem, if it comes at all, 
will be, in its meaning, superhuman, and 
divine, if there be anything divine. 

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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

What our definition of the community ena- 
bles us to add to our former views of the mean- 
ing of loyalty is simply this : If the universe 
proves to be, in any sense, of the nature of a 
community, then love for this community, 
and for God, will not mean merely love for 
losing the self, or for losing the many selves, 
in any interpenetration of selves. If one 
can find that all humanity, in the sense of our 
definition, constitutes a real community, or 
that the world itself is, in any genuine way, 
of the nature of a community such as we have 
defined ; and if hereupon we can come to love 
this real community, — then the one and the 
many, the body and the members, our beloved 
and ourselves, will be joined in a life in which 
we shall be both preserved as individuals, and 
yet united to that which we love. 

XIII 

Plainly a metaphysical study of the question 
whether the universe is a community will be 
as powerless as the foregoing analysis of the 
real nature of human communities to explain 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

the origin of love, or to make any one fall in 
love with the universe. Yet something has 
been gained by our analysis of the problem 
which, from this point onwards, determines 
our metaphysical inquiry. If our results are 
in any way positive, they may enable us to 
view the problem of Christianity, that is, 
the problem of the religion of loyalty, in a 
larger perspective than that which human 
history, when considered alone, determines. 
The favorite methods of approaching the 
metaphysical problems of theology end by 
leaving the individual alone with God, in a 
realm which seems, to many minds, a realm of 
merely concepts, of intellectual abstractions, 
of barren theories. The ways which are just 
now in favor in the philosophy of religion 
seem to end in leaving the individual equally 
alone with his intuitions, his lurid experiences 
of sudden conversion, or his ineflFable mysteries 
of saintly peace. 

May we not hope to gain by a method 
which follows the plan now outlined ? This 
method, first, encourages a man to interpret 

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THE BODY AND THE MEMBERS 

his own individual self in terms of the largest 
ideal extension of that self in time which his 
reasonable will can acknowledge as worthy 
of the aims of his life. Secondly, this method 
bids a man consider what right he has to in- 
terpret the life from which he springs, in the 
midst of which he now lives, as a life that in 
any imiversal sense cooperates with his own 
and ideally expresses its own meaning so as 
to meet with his own, and to have a history 
identical with his own. Thirdly, this method 
directs us to inquire how far, in the social 
order to which we imquestionably belong, 
there are features such as warrant us in hoping 
that, in the world's community, our highest 
love may yet find its warrant and its fulfilment. 
Whatever the fortimes of the quest may be, 
we have now defined its plan, and have shown 
its perfectly definite relation to the historical 
problem of Christianity. 



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XI 

PERCEPTION, CONCEPTION, AND 
INTERPRETATION 



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LECTURE XI 

PERCEPTION, CONCEPTION, AND 
INTERPRETATION 

IN defining what constitutes a community 
I have repeatedly mentioned processes of 
Interpretation. The word "interpretation'' 
is well known ; and students of the humanities 
have special reasons for using it frequently. 
When one calls an opinion about the self an 
interpretation, one is not employing language 
that is familiar only to philosophers. When a 
stranger in a foreign land desires the services 
of an interpreter, when a philologist oflFers 
his rendering of a text, when a judge con- 
strues a statute, some kind of interpretation 
is in question. And the process of interpre- 
tation, whatever it is, is intended to meet 
human needs which are as well known as 
they are vital. Such needs determine, as we 
shall see, whatever is humane and articu- 
late in the whole conduct and texture of our 
lives. 

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Yet if we ask. What is an interpretation ? 
— the answer is not easy. Nor is it made 
much easier by stating the question in the form : 
What does one desire who seeks for an inter- 
pretation ? What does one gain, or create, or 
acknowledge who accepts an interpretation ? 

Our investigation has reached the point 
where it is necessary to face these questions, 
as well as some others closely related to them. 
For, as a fact, to inquire what the process of 
interpretation is, takes us at once to the very 
heart of philosophy, throws a light both on 
the oldest and on the latest issues of meta- 
physical thought, and has an especially close 
connection with the special topics to which 
this coiu-se is devoted. 

II 

First, then, let me briefly recall the ways in 
which we have already been brought into con- 
tact with questions involving the natiu^e of 
interpretation. 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

Our whole undertaking is an efiFort to inter- 
pret vital features of Christianity. Each of 
the three ideas which I have viewed as essen- 
tial to the Christian doctrine of life had to be 
interpreted first for itself, and then in its con- 
nection with the others. You might have 
supposed that, when we turned to our meta- 
physical problems, we should henceforth have 
to do with questions of fact, and not with 
interpretations. But we have found that we 
could not decide how the Christian doctrine 
of life is related to the real world without 
defining what we mean by a community. A 
community, as we have seen, depends for 
its very constitution upon the way in which 
each of its members interprets himself and his 
life. For the rest, nobody's self is either a 
mere datum or an abstract conception. A 
self is a life whose unity and connectedness 
depend upon some sort of interpretation of 
plans, of naemories, of hopes, and of deeds. If, 
then, there are communities, there are many 
selves who, despite their variety, so interpret 
their lives that all these lives, taken together, 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

get the type of unity which our last lecture 
characterized. Were there, then, no inter- 
pretations in the world, there would be neither 
selves nor communities. Thus our effort to 
study matters of fact led us back to problems 
of interpretation. These latter problems ob- 
viously dominate every serious inquiry into 
our problem of Christianity. 

What, however, is any philosophy but an 
interpretation either of life, or of the universe, 
or of both? Does there exist, then, any 
student of universally interesting issues who 
is not concerned with an answer to the ques- 
tion. What is an interpretation ? 

Possibly these illustrations of our topic, 
few as they are, seem already so various in 
their characters as to suggest that the term 
" interpretation "' may be too vague in its appli- 
cations to admit, of precise definition. A ren- 
dering of a text written in a foreign tongue; 
a judge's construction of a statute; a man's 
interpretation of himself and of his own life; 
our own philosophical interpretation of this 
or of that religious idea; and the practical 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

interpretation of our destiny, or of God, 
which a great historical religion itself seems 
to have taught to the faithful; or, finally, 
a metaphysical interpretation of the universe, 
— what — so you may ask — have all these 
things in common ? What value can there be 
in attempting to fix by a definition such fluent 
and uncontrollable interests as inspire what 
various people may call by the conmion name 
interpretation ? 

in 

I reply that, beneath all this variety in the 
special motives which lead men to interpret 
objects, there exists a very definable unity of 
purpose. Look more closely, and you shall see 
that to mterpret, or to attempt an interpreta- 
tion, is to assume an attitude of mind which 
difiFers, in a notable way, from the other at- 
titudes present in the intelligent activities of 
men; while this attitude remains essentially 
the same amidst very great varieties, both in 
the individual interpreters and in the inter- 
pretations which they seek, or undertake, or 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

accept. Interpretation, viewed as a mental 
process, or as a type of knowledge, difiFers from 
other mental processes and types of knowledge 
in the objects to which it is properly applied, 
in the relations in which it stands to these 
objects, and in the ends which it serves. 

In order to show you that this is the case, I 
must summarize in my own way some still 
neglected opinions which were first set forth, 
in outline, more than forty years ago by our 
American logician, Mr. Charles Peirce, in 
papers which have been little read, but which, 
to my mind, remain of very high value as 
guides of inquiry, both in Logic and in the 
Theory of Knowledge.^ 

^Of the early papers of Mr. Charles Peiroe to whic^ reference is 
here made, the most unportant are : — 

1. In the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and 
Sciences, a paper : "On a New List of Categories,'* May 14, 1867. 

2. In the Journal of Specidative Philosophy, Vol. II (1868-1869) : 
"Questions concerning Certain Faculties claimed for Man.** 

3. Id.: "Some Consequences of Four Incapacities.** 

4. Id.: "Grounds of the Validity of the Laws of Logic; Further 
Consequences of Four Incapacities.** 

In addition to these early papers we may mention : — 

5. Article "Sign" in Baldwin's "Dictionary of Philosophy and 
Psychology," — a brief statement regarding an important point of 
Peirce's theory. 

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Mr. Charles Peirce has become best known 
to the general public by the part which Will- 
iam James assigned to him as the inventor of 
the term " Pragmatism/' and as, in some sense, 
the founder of the form of Pragmatism which 
James first made his own, and then developed 
so independently and so significantly. But 
by a small and grateful company of philosophi- 
cal students, Mr. Peirce is prized, not solely, 
and not, I think, mainly for his part in the 
early history of Pragmatism, but for his con- 
tributions to Logic, and for those remarkable 
cosmological speculations which James also, 
in his lectures on the Pluralistic Universe (as 
some of you will remember), heartily acknowl- 
edged. 

Those ideas of Charles Peirce about Inter- 
pretation to which I shall here refer, never, 
so far as I know, attracted William James's 
personal attention at any time. I may add 
that, until recently, I myself never appreciated 
their significance. In acknowledging here my 
present indebtedness to these ideas, I have 
to add that, in this place, there is no room 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

to expound them at length. The context in 
which these views appear, both in the earliest 
of the pubKshed logical papers of Peirce (about 
1868), and in many of his later discussions, 
is always very technical, and is such that no 
adequate discussion of the issues involved 
could be presented in a brief statement. 
Moreover, it is proper to say that Charies 
Peirce cannot be held responsible for the use 
that I shall here make of his opinions, or for 
any of the conclusions that I base upon them. 
There is one additional matter which should 
be emphasized at the outset. Peirce's opinions 
as to the nature of interpretation were in no 
wise influenced by Hegel, or by the tradition 
of German ideaUsm. He formed them on the 
basis of his own early scientific studies, and 
of his extensive, although always very inde- 
pendent, interest in the history of scholastic 
logic. With recent idealism this "father of 
Pragmatism "" has always felt only a very 
quaUfied sympathy, and has frequently ex- 
pressed no Uttle dissatisfaction. Some twelve 
years ago, just after I had printed a book on 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

general philosophy, Mr. Charles Peirce wrote 
to me, in a letter of kindly acknowledgment, 
the words : "But, when I read you, I do wish 
that you would study logic. You need it so 
much.'" 

Abandoning, then, any effort to state 
Peirce's case as he stated it, let me next call 
attention to matters which I should never 
have viewed as I now view them without his 
direct or indirect aid. 

IV 

The contrast between the cognitive pro- 
cesses called, respectively, perception and 
conception, dominates a great part of the 
history of philosophy. This contrast is 
usually so defined as to involve a dual classi- 
fication of our cognitive processes. When one 
asks which of the two processes, perception 
or conception, gives us the more significant 
guidance, or is the original from which the 
other is derived, or is the ideal process whereof 
the other is the degenerate fellow, such a dual 
classification is in possession of the field. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

This classic dual opposition was expressed, 
in characteristically finished fashion, at the 
outset of the lectures which Professor Bergson 
read, in May of last year, at the invitation 
of the University of Oxford. You all remem- 
ber his words: "If our power of external 
and internal perception were unUmited, we 
should never make use of our power to con- 
ceive, or of our power to reason. To con- 
ceive is a makeshift in the cases where one 
cannot perceive; and one reasons only in so 
far as one needs to fill gaps in our outer or 
inner perception, or to extend the range of 
perception.'" 

Here, as is obvious, there is no recognition 
of the possible or actual existence of a third 
type of cognitive process, which is neither 
perception nor conception. The assertion 
that conception is our makeshift when per- 
ception is Kmited, and that unlimited per- 
ception, by rendering conception superfluous, 
would supply us with that grade of intuition 
which we, in ideal, attribute to a divine being, 
involves the postulate that we face the alter- 

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native: Either perception, or else concep- 
tion. 

But if one were to oppose the thesis just 
cited by declaring in favor of conception as 
against perception; if one were to assert that 
perception deceives us with vain show, and 
that conception alone can bring us face to 
face with reaUty; if, in short, one were to 
prefer Plato to Bergson, — one would not 
thereby necessarily be led to abandon, — one 
might, on the contrary, all the more emphasize 
this dual classification of the possible cog- 
nitive processes. In such a predominantly 
dualistic view of . the classification of knowl- 
edge, both rationalism and empiricism have, 
on the whole, agreed, throughout the history 
of thought. Kant and James, Bergson and 
Mr. Bertrand Russell, are, in this respect, at 
one. 

To be sure, in addition to perception and 
conception, reason and the reasoning process 
have been very frequently recognized as 
having some sort of existence for themselves, 
over and above the processes of simple per- 

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ception and conception. Yet when Bergson 
speaks of reasoning, in the passage just cited 
from his Oxford lecture, reasoning, for him, 
means a special form or grade of the concep- 
tual process itself, and is therefore no third 
type of cognition. When Kant made his 
well-known triadic distinctions of sense, under- 
standing, and reason, assigning to sense the 
power of perceiving, to understanding the 
power to form and to use concepts, and to 
reason a third function which Kant did not 
always define in the same way, — he did not 
really succeed in escaping from the classical 
duaUsm with regard to the processes of cogni- 
tion. For Kant's account of reason assigns 
to it, in general, a high grade of conceptual 
functions, as opposed to perceptual functions ; 
and thus still depends upon the dual contrast 
between perception and conception. Kant 
is nearest to defining a third type of cognitive 
process in many of his accounts of what he 
calles the Urtheilskraft. But he never con- 
sistently maintains a triadic classification of 
the cognitive processes. 

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Despite this prevalence of the dual classi- 
fication of our cognitive processes, most of 
us will readily acknowledge that, in our real 
life, we human beings are never possessed 
either of pure perception or of pure concep- 
tion. In ideal, we can define an intuitive type 
of knowledge, which should merely see, and 
which should never think. In an equally ideal 
fashion, we can imagine the possibiKty of a 
pure thought, which should be wholly absorbed 
in conceptions, which should have as its sole 
real object a realm of universals, and which 
should ignore all sensible data. But we mor- 
tals live the inteUigent part of our Uves through 
some sort of more or less imperfect union or 
synthesis of conception and perception. 

In recent discussion it has become almost a 
commonplace to recognize this union as con- 
stantly exemplified in human experience. In 
this one respect, to-day, empiricists and 
rationaUsts, pragmatists and intellectuaKsts, 
are accustomed to agree, although great dif- 

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ferences arise with regard to what union of 
perception and conception constitutes such 
knowledge as we human beings can hopefully 
pursue or actually possess. 

Kant, assuring us that conceptions with- 
out perceptions are "empty/" and that per- 
ceptions without conceptions are "blind/' sets 
forth, in his theory of knowledge, the well- 
known account of how the "spontaneity" of 
the intellect actively combines the perceptual 
data, and brings the so-called "manifold of 
sense" to "unity of conception/' 

Recent pragmatism, laying stress upon the 
"practical" character of every human. cogni- 
tive process, depicts the life of knowledge as 
a dramatic pursuit of perceptions, — a pur- 
suit guided by the "leadings" which our con- 
ceptions determine, and which, in some sense, 
simply constitute our conceptions, in so far as 
these have genuine life. 

When, a number of years ago, I began a 
general metaphysical inquiry by defining an 
idea as a "plan of action," and thereupon de- 
veloped a theory of knowledge and of reality, 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

upon bases which this definition helped me 
to formulate, I was making my own use of 
thoughts which, in their outUnes, are at the 
present day common property. The outcome 
of my own individual use of this definition was 
a sort of absolute pragmatism, which has 
never been pleasing either to rationalists or to 
empiricists, either to pragmatists or to the 
ruling type of absolutists. But in so far tis I 
simply insisted upon the active meaning of 
ideas, my statement had something in com- 
mon with many forms of current opinion which 
agree with one another in hardly any other re- 
spect. Only the more uncompromising of the 
mystics still seek for knowledge in a silent land 
of absolute intuition, where the intellect finally 
lays down its conceptual tools, and rests from 
its pragmatic labors, while its works do not 
follow it, but are simply forgotten, and are as if 
they never had been. Those of us who are not 
such uncompromising mystics, view accessible 
human knowledge neither as pure perception 
nor as pure conception, but always as depend- 
ing upon the marriage of the two processes. 

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VI 

Yet such a recognition of an active synthe- 
sis of perception and conception does not by 
itself enable us to define a genuinely triadic 
classification of the types of knowing pro- 
cesses. Let me illustrate this fact by another 
quotation from Bergson. In a passage in the 
first of his two Oxford lectures, our author 
says: "I do not deny the usefulness of ab- 
stract and general ideas, — any more than I 
question the value of bank-notes. But just 
as the note is only a promise to pay cash, 
so a conception has value only by virtue of 
the eventual perceptions for which it stands.'' 

In these words, as you see, the antithesis, 
*' conception," "perception," corresponds to 
the antithesis, "bank-note" and "cash," 
and the other antithesis, "credit- value," 
"cash- value." All these corresponding antith- 
eses involve or depend upon dual classifica- 
tions. Now it is true, and is expressly pointed 
out by Bergson, that the members of each of 
these pairs, — the credit- value, and the cash- 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

value, — as well as the bank-note and its 
equivalent in gold, — are brought into a cer- 
tain synthesis by the existence of a process 
of promising, and of redeeming the promise. 
A promise, however, involves a species of 
activity. In case of the bank-note, this 
activity may express whatever makes some 
vast commercial system solvent, or may be 
based upon the whole power of a great modern 
state. 

In very much the same way, many philoso- 
phers of otherwise widely diflFerent opinions rec- 
ognize that conception and perception are, in 
Kve cognitive processes, brought into synthesis 
by some sort of activity, — the activity of the 
mind whose cognitions are in question. This 
activity may be one of attention. Or it may 
consist of a series of voluntary deeds. 

But in each of these cases, the members of 
a pair, "bank-note and cash," or "concep- 
tion and perception," are first antithetically 
opposed to each other; and then a third or 
active element, a promise, a voKtion, or what 
you will, is mentioned as that which brings 

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the members of the pair into synthesis. But 
this third or synthetic factor is not thus co- 
ordinated with the two opposed members of 
the pair. 

If action, or activity, is the name given to 
whatever brings perceptions and conceptions 
into synthesis, then this third factor is not 
hereby set side by side, both with perception 
and with conception as a third form of cog- 
nitive activity. For action may be viewed 
as a non-cognitive function, — and classified 
as "conation.'' Or, on the contrary, action 
may be viewed as that grade of cognition 
1^ which, being neither conception alone, nor 
perception alone, but the synthesis of the 
two, is the only mature and successfully 
completed cognitive process. Both of these 
views have been asserted. We need not dis- 
cuss them here. But, in any case, "action" 
or "activity'' is not itself hereby defined as a 
third type of cognition; any more than the 
activity of promising to pay, in Bergson's 
illustration, is defined as a third sort of cur- 
rency which is neither gold nor bank-notes. 

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NATURE OP INTERPRETATION 

Thus far, then, the classification of the cog- 
nitive processes as being either perceptions or 
else conceptions remains triumphant, and is 
not superseded by regarding genuine knowl- 
edge as a synthesis of these two. For the 
dual contrast between perception and con- 
ception dominates all such opinions. 

VII 

Yet cognition may be considered from a 
slightly diflferent point of view. 

It is natural to classify cognitive processes 
by their characteristic objects. The object 
of a perception is a datum of some sort, a 
thingy or perhaps, as Bergson insists, a change, 
or whatever else we may be able immediately 
to apprehend. The object of a conception is 
an universal of some sort, a general or a6- 
stract character y a type^ a quality , or some com- 
plex object based upon such universals. Now 
do all objects of cognition belong to one of 
these two classes ? If so, in which of these 
classes will you place your neighbor's mind, 
or any of the conscious acts of that mijid? 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

Is your neighbor's mind a datum that you 
could, were your perception ''unlimited/' 
simply find present to you, as red or as a 
" change '' can be present ? Is your neighbor's 
mind, on the contrary, an abstraction, a 
mere sort of being, an universal which you 
merely conceive? If a conception resembles 
a bank-note in being a promise to pay, which 
needs to be redeemed in the gold of percep- 
tion, — then what immediate perception of 
your own could ever render to you the "cash- 
value" of your idea of your neighbor's mind ? 
On the other hand, your present and personal 
idea of your neighbor's mind is certainly not 
itself such a perceptual "cash- value" for 
you. Your neighbor's mind is no mere datum 
to your sense at any time. 

If, then, there be any cognitive process 
whose proper object is your neighbor's mind, 
this process is neither a mere conception nor 
yet a mere perception. Is it, then, some 
synthesis or combination of perceptions and 
conceptions? Or is it, finally, some third 
form of cognitive process, which is neither 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

perception nor conception, and which cannot 
be completely describable in terms of combined 
perceptions and conceptions ? Now it appears 
that the word '* interpretation" is a conven- 
ient name for a process which at least aims 
to be cognitive. And the proper object of 
an interpretation, as we usually employ the 
name, is either something of the nature of a 
mind, or else is a process which goes on in a 
mind, or, finally, is a sign or expression where- 
by some mind manifests its existence and its 
processes. Let us consider, then, more closely, 
whether the process of interpretation, in so 
far as its proper object is a mind, or is the 
sign of a mind, can be reduced to a pure per- 
ception, or to pure conception, or to any syn- 
thesis which merely involves these two. 

VIII 

We shall here be aided by a very familiar 
instance, suggested by the very illustration 
which Bergson uses in pointing out the con- 
trast between perception and conception, and 
in emphasizing the secondary and purely in- 
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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

strumental character of the process of con- 
ception. Gold coin, as Bergson reminds' us, 
corresponds, in its value for the ordinary busi- 
ness of buying and selling, to perceptions as 
they appear in our experience. Bank-notes 
correspond, in an analogous fashion, to con- 
ceptions. The notes are promises to pay 
cash. The conceptions are useful guides to 
possible perceptions. THe link between the 
note and its cash-value is the link which the 
activity of making and keeping the promises 
of a solvent bank provides. The link between 
the conception and its corresponding per- 
ception is the Knk which some active syn- 
thesis, such as voluntary seeking, or creative 
action, or habitual conduct, or intention, 
supplies. The illustration is clear. In a 
special way perceptions do indeed correspond 
to cash-values, and conceptions to credit- 
values. But in the world of commercial trans- 
actions there are other values than simple 
cash-values and credit-values. Perhaps, there- 
fore, in the realm of cognitive processes there 
may be analogous varieties. 

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Recall the familiar case wherein a traveller 
crosses the boundary of a foreign country. 
To the boundary he comes provided, let us 
say, with the gold and with bank-notes of 
his own country, but without any letter of 
credit. This side of the boundary his bank- 
notes are good because of their credit-value. 
His gold is good because, being the coinage 
of the realm, it possesses cash-value and is 
legal tender. But beyond the boundary, in 
the land to which he goes, the coin which he 
carries is no longer legal tender, and possibly 
will not pass at all in ordinary transactions. 
His bank-notes may be, for the moment, 
valueless, not because the promise stamped 
upon their face is irredeemable, but because 
the gold coin itself into which they could be 
converted upon presentation at the bank in 
question, would not be legal tender beyond 
the boundary. 

Consequently, at the boundary, a new pro- 
cess may be convenient, if not, for the travel- 
ler's purpose, indispensable. It is the pro- 
cess of exchanging coin of the realm which 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

he leaves for that of the foreign land which he 
enters. The process may be easy or diflS- 
cult, may be governed by strict rules or else 
may be capricious, according to the condi- 
tions which prevail at the boundary. But it 
is a third process, which consists neither in 
the presentation of cash-values nor in the 
offering or accepting of credit-values. It is 
a process of interpreting the cash-values 
which are recognized by the laws and customs 
of one realm in terms of the cash- values which 
are legal tender in another country. It is 
also a process of proceeding to act upon the 
basis of this interpretation. We are not con- 
cerned with the principles which make this 
interpretation possible, or which guide the 
conduct either of the traveller or of the money- 
changer at the boundary. What interests us 
here is simply the fact that a new type of 
transaction is now in question. It is a pro- 
cess of money-changing, — a special form of 
exchange of values, but a form not simply 
analogous to the type of the activities whereby 
conceptions are provided with their corre- 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

spending perceptions. And this form is not 
reducible to that of the simple contrast be- 
tween credit-values and cash-values. 

IX 

Each of us, in every new eflfort to com- 
municate with our fellow-men, stands, like the 
traveller crossing the boundary of a new 
country, in the presence of a largely strange 
world of perceptions and of conceptions. Our 
neighbor's perceptions, in their immediate 
presence, we never quite certainly share. 
Our neighbor's conceptions, for various reasons 
which I need not here enumerate, are so 
largely communicable that they can often be 
regarded, with a high degree of probability, 
as identical, in certain aspects of their mean- 
ing, with our own. But the active syntheses, 
the practical processes of seeking and of con- 
struction, the volitions, the promises, whereby 
we pass from our own concepts to our own 
percepts, are often in a high degree individ- 
ual. In that case it may be very diflScult 
to compare them to the corresponding pro- 

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cesses of our neighbors; and then a mutual 
understanding, in respect of our activities and 
their values, is frequently as hard to obtain 
as is a direct view of one another's sensory- 
perceptions. "I never loved you,'' so says 
Hamlet to Ophelia. "My lord, you made me 
believe so." Here is a classic instance of a 
problem of mutual interpretation. Who of 
us can solve this problem for Hamlet and 
Ophelia ? 

Therefore, in our efforts to view the world 
as other men view it, our undertaking is 
very generally analogous to the traveller's 
financial transactions when he crosses the 
boundary. We try to solve the problem of 
learning how to exchange the values of our 
own lives into the terms which can hope to 
pass current in the new or foreign spiritual 
realms whereto, when we take counsel to- 
gether, we are constantly attempting to pass. 
Both the credit- values and the cash- values are 
not always easily exchanged. 

I have no hope of showing, in the present 
discussion, how and how far we can make sure 

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that, in a given case of human social inter- 
course, we actually succeed in fairly exchang- 
ing the coinage of our perceptions and the 
bank-notes of our conceptions into the values 
which pass current in the realm beyond the 
boundary. What measure of truth our indi- 
vidual interpretations possess, and by what 
tests we verify that truth, I have not now to 
estimate. But I am strongly interested in the 
fact that, just as the process of obtaining cash 
for our bank-notes is not the same as the 
process of exchanging our coins for foreign 
coins when we pass the border, precisely so 
the process of verifying our concepts through 
obtaining the corresponding percepts is not 
the same as the process of interpreting our 
neighbors' minds. 

A philosophy which, like that of Bergson, 
defines the whole problem of knowledge in 
terms of the classic opposition between con- 
ception and perception, and which then de- 
clares that, if our powers of perception were 
unlimited, the goal of knowledge would be 
reached, simply misses the principal problem, 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

both of our daily human existence and of all 
our higher spiritual life, as well as of the 
universe. And in bidding us seek the solu- 
tion of our problems in terms of perception, 
such a doctrine simply forbids us to pass any 
of the great boundaries of the spiritual world, 
or to explore the many realms wherein the 
wealth of the spirit is poured out. For 
neither perception nor conception, nor any 
combination of the two, nor yet their synthe- 
sis in our practical activities, constitutes the 
whole of any interpretation. Interpretation, 
however, is what we seek in all our social 
and spiritual relations; and without some 
process of interpretation, we obtain no ful- 
ness of life. 

X 

It would be wrong to suppose, however, 
that interpretation is needed and is used only 
in our literal social relations with other indi- 
vidual human beings. For it is important 
to notice that one of the principal problems 
in the life of each of us is the problem of 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

interpreting himself. The bare mention of 
Hamlet's words reminds us of this fact. 
Ophelia does not understand Hamlet. But 
does he understand himself? 

In our inner life it not infrequently happens 
that we have — like the traveller, or like 
Hamlet in the ghost-scene, or like Macbeth 
when there comes the knocking on the gate 
— to pass a boundary, to cross into some new 
realm, not merely of experience, but of desire, 
of hope, or of resolve. It is then our fortune 
not merely that our former ideas, as the 
pragmatists say, no longer "work,'' and that 
our bank-notes can no longer be cashed in 
terms of the familiar inner perceptions which 
we have been accustomed to seek. Our 
situation is rather this: that hoih our ideas 
and our experiences, both our plans and our 
powers to realize plans, both our ideas with 
their "leadings" and our intuitions, are in 
process of dramatic transformation. At such 
times we need to know, like Pharaoh, botl^ 
our dream and the interpretation thereof. 

Such critical passing of a boundary in 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

one's own inner world is a well-known event 

in youth, when what Goethe called: — 

Neue Liebe, neues Leben, 
Neue Hoffnung, neues Sehnen, 

makes one say to one's heart : — 

Ich erkenne dich nicht mehr. 

Yet, not only youth, but personal calamity, 
or other "moving accident," or, in a more 
inspiring way, the call of some new construc- 
tive task, or, in the extreme case, a religious 
conversion, may at any time force one or an- 
other of us to cross a boundary in a fashion 
similar to those just illustrated. 

At such times we are impressed with the 
fact that there is no royal road to self-knowl- 
edge, Charles Peirce, in the earliest of the 
essays to which I am calling your attention, 
maintained (quite rightly, I think) that there 
is no direct intuition or perception of the self. 
Reflection, as Peirce there pointed out, in- 
volves what is, in its essence, an interior con- 
versation, in which one discovers one's own 
mind through a process of inference analo- 
gous to the very modes of inference which 

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NATURE OP INTERPRETATION 

guide us in a social effort to interpret our 
neighbors' minds. Such social inference is 
surely no merely conceptual process. But it 
cannot be reduced to the sort of perception 
which Bergson invited you, in his Oxford 
lectures, to share. Although you are indeed 
placed in the "interior" of yourself, you can 
never so far retire into your own inmost re- 
cesses of intuition as merely to find the true 
self presented to an inner sense. 

XI 

So far I have merely sketched, with my own 
illustrations, a few notable features of Peirce's 
early opinions about interpretation. We are 
now ready for his central thesis, which, with 
many variations in detail, he has retained in 
all his later discussions of the processes in 
question. I beg you not to be discouraged by 
the fact that, since Peirce has always been, 
first of all, a logician, he states this central 
thesis in a decidedly formal fashion, which I 
here somewhat freely imitate. We shall soon 
see the usefulness of this formal procedure. 

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Interpretation always involves a relation 
of three terms. In the technical phrase, in- 
terpretation is a triadic relation. That is, 
you cannot express any complete process of 
interpreting by merely naming two terms, — 
persons, or other objects, — and by then tell- 
ing what dyadic relation exists between one 
of these two and the other. 

Let me illustrate: Suppose that an Egyp- 
tologist translates an inscription. So far two 
beings are indeed in question: the trans- 
lator and his text. But a genuine transla- 
tion cannot be merely a translation in the 
abstract. There must be some language into 
which the inscription is translated. Let this 
translation be, in a given instance, an Eng- 
lish translation. Then the translator inter- 
prets something ; but he interprets it only to 
one who can read English. And if a reader 
knows no English, the translation is for such 
a reader no interpretation at all. That is, a 
triad of beings — the Egyptian text, the Egyp- 
tologist who translates, and the possible 
English reader — are equally necessary in or- 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

der that such an English interpretation of an 
Egyptian writing should exist. Whenever 
anybody translates a text, the situation re- 
mains, however you vary texts or languages 
or translators, essentially the same. There 
must exist some one, or some class of beings, 
to whose use this translation is adapted; 
while the translator is somebody who ex- 
presses himself by mediating between two 
expressions of meanings, or between two lan- 
guages, or between two speakers or two 
writers. The mediator or translator, or in- 
terpreter, must, in cases of this sort, himself 
know both languages, and thus be intelligible 
to both the persons whom his translation 
serves. The triadic relation in question is, 
in its essence, non-symmetrical, — that is, 
unevenly arranged with respect to all three 
terms. Thus somebody (let us say A) — 
the translator or interpreter — interprets 
somebody (let us say B) to somebody (let 
us say C). If you transpose the order of the 
terms, — A, B, C, — an account of the hap- 
pening which constitutes an interpretation 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

must be altered, or otherwise may become 
either false or meaningless. 

Thus an interpretation is a relation which 
not only involves three terms, but brings 
them into a determinate order. One of the 
three terms is the interpreter; a second 
term is the object — the person or the mean- 
ing or the text — which is interpreted; the 
third is the person to whom the interpretation 
is addressed. 

This may, at first, seem to be a mere for- 
mality. But nothing in the world is more 
momentous than the difference between a 
pair and a triad of terms may become, if the 
terms and the relations involved are them- 
selves sufficiently full of meaning. 

You may observe that, when a man per- 
ceives a thing, the relation is dyadic. A 
perceives B. A pair of members is needed, 
and suffices, to make the relation possible. 
But when A interprets B to C, a triad of mem- 
bers (whereof, as in case of other relations, 
two or all three members may be wholly, 
or in part, identical) must exist in order to 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

make the interpretation possible. Let illus- 
trations show us how important this formal 
condition of interpretation may become. 
• When a process of conscious reflection goes 
on, a man may be said to interpret himself 
to himself. In this case, although but one 
personality, in the usual sense of the term, is 
in question, the relation is still really a triadic 
relation. And, in general, in such a case, the 
man who is said to be reflecting remembers 
some former promise or resolve of his own, or 
perhaps reads an old letter that he once wrote, 
or an entry in a diary. He then, at some 
present time, interprets this expression of his 
past self. 

But, usually, he interprets this bit of his 
past self to his future self. "This,'' he says, 
"is what I meant when I made that promise.'' 
"This is what I wrote or recorded or prom- 
ised." "Therefore," he continues, address- 
ing his future self, "I am now committed to 
doing thus," "planning thus," and so on. 

The interpretation in question still con- 
stitutes, therefore, a triadic relation. And 

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THE PROBLEM OP CHRISTIANITY 

there are three men present in and taking 
p^rt in the interior conversation : the man of 
the past whose promises, notes, records, old 
letters, are interpreted; the present self 
who interprets them; and the future self 
to whom the interpretation is addressed. 
Through the present self the past is so in- 
terpreted that its counsel is conveyed to the 
future self. 

xn 

The illustration just chosen has been taken 
from the supposed experience of an individual 
man. But the relations involved are capable 
of a far-reaching metaphysical generalization. 
For this generalization I cannot cite the 
authority of Peirce. I must deal with just 
this aspect of the matter in my own way. 

The relations exemplified by the man who, 
at a given present moment, interprets his 
own past to his own future, are precisely 
analogous to the relations which exist when 
any past state of the world is, at any present 
moment, so linked, through a definite his- 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

torical process, with the coming state of the 
world, that an intelligent observer who hap- 
pened to be in possession of the facts could, 
were he present, interpret to a possible future 
observer the meaning of the past. Such 
interpretation might or might not involve 
definite predictions of future events. His- 
tory or biography, physical or mental pro- 
cesses, might be in question ; fate or free will, 
determinism or chance, might rule the region 
of the world which was under consideration. 
The most general distinctions of past, present, 
and future appear in a new light when con- 
sidered with reference to the process of in- 
terpretation. 

In fact, what our own inner reflection 
exemplifies is outwardly embodied in the 
whole world's history. For what we all mean 
by past time is a realm of events whose his- 
torical sense, whose records, whose lessons, we 
may now interpret, in so far as our memory 
and the documents furnish us the evidences 
for such interpretation. We may also ob- 
serve that what we mean by future time is a 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

realm of events which we view as more or less 
under the control of the present will of volun- 
tary agents, so that it is worth while to give 
to ourselves, or to our fellows, counsel re- 
garding this future. And so, wherever the 
world's processes are recorded, wherever the 
records are preserved, and wherever they in- 
fluence in any way the future course of events, 
we may say that (at least in these parts of 
the world) the present potentially interprets 
the past to the future, and continues so to do 
ad infinitum. 

Such, for instance, is the case when one 
studies the crust of a planet. The erosions 
and the deposits of a present geological period 
lay down the traces which, if read by a geolo- 
gist, would interpret the past history of the 
planet's crust to the observers of future geo- 
logical periods. 

Thus the Colorado Caflon, in its present 
condition, is a geological section produced by 
a recent stream. Its walls record, in their 
stratification, a vast series of long-past 
changes. The geologist of the present may 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

read these traces, and may intei^pret them for 
future geologists of our own age. But the 
present state of the Colorado Cafion, which 
will ere long pass away as the walls crumble, 
and as the continents rise or sink, will leave 
traces that may be used at some future time 
to interpret these now present conditions of 
the earth's crust to some still more advanced 
future, which will come to exist after yet 
other geological periods have passed away. 

In sum, if we view the world as everywhere 
and always recording its own history, by pro- 
cesses of aging and weathering, or of evolu- 
tion, or of stellar and nebular clusterings and 
streamings, we can simply define the time 
order, and its three regions, — past, present, 
future, — as an order of possible interpreta- 
tion. That is, we can define the present as, 
potentially,' the interpretation of the past to 
the future. The triadic structure of our in- 
terpretations is strictly analogous, both to the 
psychological and to the metaphysical struc- 
ture of the world of time. And each of these 
structures can be stated in terms of the other. 

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This analogy between the relational struc- 
ture of the whole time-process and the rela- 
tions which are characteristic of any system 
of acts of interpretation seems to me to be 
worthy of careful consideration. 

XIII 

The observation of Peirce that interpreta- 
tion is a process involving, from its very es- 
sence, a triadic relation, is thus, in any case, 
no mere logical formalism. 

Psychologically speaking, the mental pro- 
cess which thus involves three members dif- 
fers from perception and conception in three 
respects. First, interpretation is a conversa- 
tion, and not a lonely enterprise. There is 
some one, in the realm of psychological hap- 
penings, who addresses some one. The one 
who addresses interprets some object to the 
one addressed. In the second place, the 
interpreted object is itself something which 
has the nature of a mental expression. Peirce 
uses the term "sign" to name this mental ob- 
ject which is interpreted. Thirdly, since the 

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NATURE OP INTERPRETATION 

interpretation is a mental act, and is an act 
which is expressed, the interpretation itself 
is, in its turn, a Sign. This new sign calls for 
further interpretation. For the interpreta- 
tion is addressed to somebody. And so, — at 
least in ideal, — the social process involved 
is endless. Thus wealthy, then, in its psy- 
chological consequences, is the formal char- 
acter of a situation wherein any interpreta- 
tion takes place. 

Perception has its natural terminus in some 
object perceived; and therewith the process, 
as would seem, might end, were there nothing 
else in the world to perceive. Conception is 
contented, so to speak, with defining the 
universal type, or ideal form which chances 
to become an object of somebody's thought. 
In order to define a new universal, one needs 
a new act of thought whose occurrence seems, 
in so far, an arbitrary additional cognitive 
function. Thus both perception and con- 
ception are, so to speak, self-limiting pro- 
cesses. The wealth of their facts comes to 
them from without, arbitrarily. 

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But interpretation both requires as its 
basis the sign or mental expression which is 
to be interpreted, and calls for a further in- 
terpretation of its own act, just because it 
addresses itself to some third being. Thus 
interpretation is not only an essentially social 
process, but also a process which, when once 
initiated, can be terminated only by an ex- 
ternal and arbitrary interruption, such as 
death or social separation. By itself, the 
process of interpretation calls, in ideal, for 
an infinite sequence of interpretations. For 
every interpretation, being addressed to 
somebody, demands interpretation from the 
one to whom it is addressed. 

Thus the formal difference between inter- 
pretation on the one hand, and perception 
and conception on the other hand, is a differ- 
ence involving endlessly wealthy possible 
psychological consequences. 

Perception is indeed supported by the 
wealth of our sensory processes; and is 
therefore rightly said to possess an endless 
fecundity. 

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But interpretation lives in a world which 
is endlessly richer than the realm of percep- 
tion. For its discoveries are constantly re- 
newed by the inexhaustible resources of our 
social relations, while its ideals essentially 
demand, at every point, an infinite series of 
mutual interpretations in order to express 
what even the very least conversational 
eflFort, the least attempt to find our way in 
the life that we would interpret, involves. 

Conception is often denounced, in our 
day, as "sterile." But perception, taken by 
itself, is intolerably lonesome. And every 
philosophy whose sole principle is perception 
invites us to dwell in a desolate wilderness 
where neither God nor man exists. For where 
either God or man is in question, interpreta- 
tion is demanded. And interpretation, — even 
the simplest, even the most halting and trivial 
interpretation of our daily life, — seeks what 
eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, 
and what it hath not entered into the heart 
of man to conceive, — namely, the successful 
interpretation of somebody to somebody. 
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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

Interpretation seeks an object which is 
essentially spiritual. The abyss of abstract 
conception says of this object: It is not in 
me. The heaven of glittering immediacies 
which perception furnishes answers the quest 
by saying: It is not in me. Interpretation 
says : It is nigh thee, — even in thine heart ; 
but shows us, through manifesting the very 
nature of the object to be sought, what 
general conditions must be met if any one is 
to interpret a genuine Sign to an understand- 
ing mind. And withal, interpretation seeks 
a city out of sight, the homeland where, per- 
chance, we learn to understand one another. 

XIV 

Our first glimpse of Charles Peirce's neg- 
lected doctrine of the logic of signs and of 
interpretations necessarily gives us extremely 
inadequate impressions. But in pointing out 
the parallelism between the relational char- 
acters of the time-process and those of the 
process of interpretation, I have already shown 
that the questions at issue are neither merely 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

intellectual, nor purely conceptual, and con- 
cern many matters which are confined neither 
to logic nor to descriptive psychology. As a 
fact, to conceive the cognitive process in 
terms of such a threefold division, and also 
in terms of such a triadic relation, as the 
division and the relation which Peirce brings 
to our attention, — to view cognition thus 
throws light, I believe, upon all the principal 
issues which are now before us. 

Recent pragmatism, both in the form em- 
phasized by James and (so far as I know) in 
all its othet now prominent forms, depends 
upon conceiving two types of cognitive pro- 
cesses, perception and conception, as mutually 
opposed, and as in such wise opposed that con- 
ception merely defines the bank-notes, while 
only perception can supply the needed cash. 
In consequence of this dualistic view of the 
cognitive process, and in view of other con- 
siderations recently emphasized, the essential 
doctrine of pragmatism has come to include 
the two well-known theses : That truth is 
mutable; and that the sole criterion of the 

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present state of the truth is to be found in the 
contents of particular perceptions. 

Corresponding to this form of epistemology 
we have, in the metaphysic of Bergson, a 
doctrine of reality based upon the same dual 
classification of the cognitive processes, and 
upon the same preference for perception as 
against its supposed sole rival. 

But if we review the facts in the new light 
which Peirce's views about interpretation 
enable us, I think, to use, we shall reach re- 
sults, that, as I close, I may yet barely hint. 

XV 

Reahty, so Bergson tells us, — Reality, 
which must be perceived just as artists per- 
ceive its passing data, and thereby teach us 
to perceive what we never saw before, — 
Reality is essentially change, flow, movement. 
In perceptual time, if you abstract from the 
material limitations which the present bond- 
age of our intellect forces upon us, both 
present and past interpenetrate, and all 
is one ever present duration, consisting of 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

endless qualitatively various but coalescing 
changes. 

But a recognition of the existence, and a 
due understanding of the character of the 
process of interpretation, will show us, I 
believe, that the time-order, in its sense and 
interconnection, is known to us through 
interpretation, and is neither a conceptual 
nor yet a perceptual order. We learn about 
it through what is, in a sense, the conversa- 
tion which the present, in the name of the 
remembered or presupposed past, addresses 
to the expected future, whenever we are 
interested in directing our own course of 
voluntary action, or in taking counsel with 
one another. Life may be a colloquy, or a 
prayer; but the life of a reasonable being is 
never a mere perception; nor a conception; 
nor a mere sequence of thoughtless deeds; 
nor yet an active process, however synthetic, 
wherein interpretation plays no part. Life 
is essentially, in its ideal, social. Hence 
interpretation is a necessary element of every- 
thing that, in life, has ideal value. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

But when the time-process Is viewed as an 
interpretation of the past to the future by 
means of our present acts of choice, then the 
divisions and the successions which are found 
in the temporal order are not, as Bergson 
supposes, due to a false translation of the 
perceived temporal flow into a spatial order. 
For every present deed interprets my future ; 
and therefore divides my life into the region 
of what I have already done, and the region 
of what I have yet to accomplish. This 
division is due, not to the geometrical degen- 
eration which Bergson refers to our intellect, 
but to one of the most significant features 
of the spiritual world, — namely, to the fact 
that we interpret all past time as irrevocable. 
So to interpret our past is the very founda- 
tion of all deliberate choice. But the irrev- 
ocable past changes no more. And the 
stupendous spiritual significance which this 
interpretation introduces into our view of 
our hves, of history, of nature, and of God, 
we have already had occasion to consider in 
the first part of this course. The philosophy 

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of change, the perception of an universe where 
all is fluent, can be interpreted only through 
recognizing that the past returns not; that 
the deed once done is never to be recalled; 
that what has been done is at once the world's 
safest treasure, and its heaviest burden. 

Whoever insists upon the mutability of 
truth, speaks in terms of the dual classifica- 
tion of cognitive processes. But let one learn 
to know that our very conception of our tem- 
poral experience, as of all happenings, is 
neither a conception nor a perception, but 
an interpretation. Let one note that every 
present judgment bearing upon future ex- 
perience is indeed, as the pragmatists tell us, 
a practical activity. But let one also see 
that, for this very reason, every judgment, 
whose meaning is concrete and practical, so 
interprets past experience as to counsel a 
future deed. Let one consider that when 
my present judgment, addressing my future 
self, counsels: "Do this," this counsel, if 
followed, leads to an individual deed, which 
henceforth irrevocably stands on the score 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

of my life, and can never be removed there- 
from. 

Hence, just as what is done cannot be un- 
done, just so what is truly or falsely counselled 
by any concrete and practical judgment re- 
mains permanently true or false. For the 
deed which a judgment counsels remains for- 
ever done, when once it has been done. 

XVI 

Let me summarize the main results of this 
lecture : — 

1. In addition to the world of conception 
a-nd to the world of perception, we have to 
take account of a world of interpretation. 

2. The features that distinguish from one 
another the three processes — perception, 
conception, and interpretation — have to do 
with their logical and formal characteristics, 
with their psychological motives and accom- 
paniments, and with the objects to which 
they are directed. 

3. Logically and formally considered, in- 
terpretation differs from perception and from 

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NATURE OF INTERPRETATION 

conception by the fact that it involves re- 
lations which are essentially triadic. 

4. Psychologically, interpretation diflfers 
from perception and from conception by the 
fact that it is, in its intent, an essentially 
social process. It accompanies every intel- 
ligent conversation. It is used whenever we 
acknowledge the being and the inner life of 
our fellow-men. It transforms our own inner 
life into a conscious interior conversation, 
wherein we interpret ourselves. Both of our- 
selves and of our neighbors we have no merely 
intuitive knowledge, no complete perception, 
and no adequate conception. Reflection is 
an eflfort at self-interpretation. 

5. Both logically and psychologically, in- 
terpretation differs from perception and from 
conception in that each of these latter pro- 
cesses derives the wealth of its facts from a 
world which, at least in seeming, is external 
to itself. Were there but one object to per- 
ceive, and one universal to conceive, one act 
of perception and one of conception would 
be, in the abstract, possible and required. 

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The need for new acts of perception and of 
conception seems to be, in so far, arbitrarily 
determined by the presence of new facts 
which are to be perceived or conceived. But 
interpretation, while always stimulated to 
fresh efforts by the inexhaustible wealth of 
the novel facts of the social world, demands, 
by virtue of its own nature, and even in the 
simplest conceivable case, an endless wealth 
of new interpretations. For every interpre- 
tation, as an expression of mental activity, 
addresses itself to a possible interpreter, and 
demands that it shall be, in its turn, inter- 
preted. Therefore it is not the continuance, 
but the interruption, of the process of inter- 
pretation which appears to be arbitrary ; and 
which seems to be due to sources and motives 
foreign to the act of interpretation. 

6. Metaphysically considered, the world of 
interpretation is the world in which, if indeed 
we are able to interpret at all, we learn to 
acknowledge the being and the Inner hfe of our 
fellow-men; and to understand the constitu- 
tion of temporal experience, with its endlessly 

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accumulating sequence of significant deeds. 
In this world of interpretation, of whose 
most general structure we have now obtained 
a glimpse, selves and communities may exist, 
past and future can be defined, and the realms 
of the spirit may find a place which neither 
barren conception nor the chaotic flow of 
interpenetrating perceptions could ever ren- 
der significant. 

7. Bergson has eloquently referred us to 
the artists, as the men whose office it is to 
teach us how to perceive. Let the philoso- 
phers, he tells us, learn from the methods of 
the artists. In reply we can only insist, in 
this place, that the sole office of the artists 
has always been to interpret. They address 
us, so as to interpret to us their own percep- 
tions, and thereby their own lives and deeds. 
In turn, they call upon us to renew the endless 
hfe of the community of the spirits who in- 
terpret. The artists do not do their work for 
"nothing," nor yet for "pleasure." They do 
their work because they love the unity of 
spirit which, through their work, is brought 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

into the life of mankind. The artists are in 
this respect not alone. 

The prophets, the founders of religions, the 
leaders of mankind: they do not merely 
see; nor do they merely think; i:ior yet are 
they mere pragmatists hovering between ab- 
stract conceptions which they dislike, and 
particular experiences which they indeed de- 
sire, but so view that therein they find only 
the particular. Those for whom the sole 
contrast in the world of cognitions is that 
between conception and perception, stand in 
Faust's position. Their conceptions are in- 
deed mere bank-notes. But alas ! their per- 
ceptions are, at best, mere cash. So in desire 
they hasten to enjoyment, and in enjoyment 
pine to feel desire. 

Such find indeed their "cash'" of experience 
in plenty. But they never find what has 
created all the great religions, and all the 
deathless loyalties, and all the genuinely true 
insights of the human world, — namely, that 
interpretation of Ufe which sends us across 
the borders both of our conceptual and of our 

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perceptual life, to lay up treasures in other 
worlds, to interpret the meaning of the pro- 
cesses of time, to read the meaning of art and 
of Ufe. 

8. Do you ask what this process is which 
thus transcends both perception and con- 
ception, I answer that it is the process in 
which you engage whenever you take counsel 
with a friend, or look in the eyes of one be- 
loved, or serve the cause of your life. This 
process it is which touches the heart of reality. 
Let the philosophers, then, endeavor to avoid 
"sterile" conceptions. Let them equally 
avoid those wanton revels in mere perception 
which are at present the bane of our art, of 
our literature, of our social ideals, and of 
our religion. Let the philosophers learn from 
those who teach us, as the true artists do, the 
art of interpretation. 

A few fragmentary indications of the prin- 
ciples of this art we may hope, at the next 
time, to set forth upon the bases which Charles 
Peirce's theory has suggested. 



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xn 

THE WILL TO INTERPRET 



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LECTURE XII 

THE WILL TO INTERPRET 

WE have seen some of the contrasts 
whereby the three cognitive processes : 
Perception, Conception, and Interpretation, 
are distinguished from one another. Our next 
task is to become better acquainted with the 
work and the value of Interpretation. 



In this undertaking we shall be guided by 
the special problems to which our lectures are 
devoted. The metaphysical inquiry con- 
cerning the nature and the reality of the com- 
mimity is still our leading topic. To this 
topic whatever we shall have to say about 
interpretation is everywhere subordinate. 
But, since, if I am right, interpretation is 
indeed a fundamental cognitive process, we 
shall need still further to illustrate its nature 
and its principal forms. Every apparent 
digression from our main path will quickly 

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lead us back to our central issues. Inter- 
pretation is, once for all, the main business of 
philosophy. 

The present lecture will include two stages 
of movement towards our goal. First, we 
shall study the elementary psychology of the 
process of interpretation. Secondly, we shall 
portray the ideal that guides a truth-loving 
interpreter. The first of these inquiries will 
concern topics which are both familiar and 
neglected. The second part of oiu* lecture 
will throw light upon the ethical problems 
with which our study of the Christian ideas 
has made us acquainted. At the close of the 
lecture our preparation for an outline of the 
metaphysics of interpretation will be com- 
pleted. 

n 

I have called interpretation an essentially 
social cognitive process ; and such, in fact, it 
is. Man is an animal that interprets; and 
therefore man lives in communities, and de- 
pends upon them for insight and for salvation. 

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THE WILL TO INTERPRET 

But the elementary psychological forms in 
which interpretation appears find a place in 
our lives whether or no we are in company; 
just as a child can sing when alone, although 
singing is, on the whole, a social activity. 
We shall need to consider how an interpreter 
conducts his mental processes, even when he 
is taking no explicit account of other minds 
than his own. 

In looking for the psychological foundations 
of interpretation, we shall be directed by 
Charles Peirce's formal definition of the men- 
tal functions which are involved. Wherever 
an interpretation takes place, however little 
it seems to be an explicitly social undertaking, 
a triadic cognitive process can be observed. 
Let us look, then, for elementary instances of 
such triadic processes. 

In the earliest of the logical essays to which, 
at the last time, I referred, Charles Peirce 
pointed out that every instance of conscious 
and explicit Comparison involves an elemen- 
tary form of interpretation. This observation 
of Peirce's enables us to study interpretation 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

in some of its simplest shapes, relieved of the 
complications which our social eflforts to com- 
municate with other minds usually involve. 
Yet, even in this rudimentary form, inter- 
pretation involves the motives which, upon 
higher levels, make its work so wealthy in 
results, and so significant in its contrasts with 
perception and conception. 

in 

The most familiar instances of the mental 
process known as Comparison seem, at first 
. sight, to consist of a consciousness of certain 
familiar dyadic relations, — relations of simi- 
larity and diflference. Red contrasts with 
green; sound breaks in upon silence; one 
sensory quality collides, as it were, with an- 
other. The "shock of diflference" awakens 
our attention. In other cases, an unexpected 
similarity of colors and tones attracts our 
interest. Or perhaps the odors of two flowers, 
or the flavors of two fruits, resemble one the 
other. Pairs of perceived objects are, in all 
these cases, in question. We express our 

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observations in such judgments as: "A 
resembles B ; " "D is unlike E.'' 

Now Peirce's view of the nature of com- 
parison depends upon noticing that, familiar 
as such observations of similarity and dis- 
similarity may be, no one of them constitutes 
the whole of any complete act of comparison. 
Comparison, in the fuller sense of the word, 
takes place when one asks or answers the 
question: What constitutes the difference 
between A and B?" ^'Wherein does A re- 
semble B?" ''Wherein consists their dis- 
tinction?" Let me first illustrate such a 
question in a case wherein the answer is easy. 

If you write a word with your own hand, and 
hold it up before a mirror, your own hand- 
writing becomes more or less unintelligible to 
you, unless you are already accustomed to read 
or to write mirror-script. Suppose, however, 
that instead of writing words yourself, you 
let some one else show you words already 
written. And suppose, further, that two 
words have been, written side by side on the 
same sheet of paper, neither of them by your 

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own hand. Suppose one of them to have 
been written upright, while the other is the 
counterpart of the first, except that it is the 
first turned upside down, or else is the first 
in mirror-script. If, without knowing how 
these words have been produced, you look 
at them, you can directly observe that 
the two written words differ in appearance, 
and that they also have a close resemblance. 
But, unless you were already familiar with 
the results of inverting a handwriting or of 
observing it in a mirror, you could not thus 
directly observe wherein consist the similar- 
ities and the differences of the two words 
which lie before you on the paper. 

Since you are actually familiar with mirror- 
script, and with the results of turning a sheet 
of paper upside down, you will indeed no 
doubt be able to name the difference of the 
two supposed words. But in order to com- 
pare the two words thus presented side by 
side on the same sheet of paper, and to tell 
wherein they are similar and wherein they 
differ, you need what Peirce calls a medi- 

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THE WILL TO INTERPRET 

ating idea, or what he also calls "a third/* 
which, as he phrases the matter, shall '* rep- 
resent" or "interpret" one of the two written 
words to, or in terms of, the other. You use 
such a "third" idea when you say, "This word 
is the mirror-script representative of that 
word." For now the difference is interpreted. 

Thus a complete act of comparison involves 
such a "third," such a "mediating" image or 
idea, — such an "interpreter." By means of 
this "third" you so compare a "first" object 
with a "second" as to make clear to yourself 
wherein consists the similarity and the diflFer- 
ence between the second and the first. Com- 
parison must be triadic in order to be both ex- 
plicit and complete. Likenesses and differ- 
ences are the signs that a comparison is needed. 
But these signs are not their own interpretation. 

Let us observe another instance of the 
same general type. One may be long ac- 
quainted with the difference between his own 
right and left hands before one learns to in- 
terpret this difference, and so to complete 
one's comparison, in terms of the third idea 

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that the one hand is a more or lei^s imperfect 
mirror-image of the other hand, the imper- 
fections being due to the lack of symmetry in 
our bodily structure. 

Still another familiar instance of comparison 
will show how needful it is to choose the right 
"third'' in order to complete one's view of the 
matter. One may long have observed that a 
friend's face, when seen in a mirror, contrasts 
with the same face if seen apart from the 
mirror. Yet it may be very hard for a given 
person to tell why this diflFerence exists, or 
wherein it consists. I have asked the ques- 
tion of various intelligent and observant peo- 
ple, who could only reply : "It is true that in 
general a man's face, as I see it before me, 
does not perfectly resemble that man's face 
as it appears when I look at it in a mirror. 
But I cannot define the reason for this diflFer- 
ence, or tell wherein the diflFerence consists." 
The answer to the question is that, since the 
features of a human face are usually, in their 
finer details, more or less unsymmetrically 
disposed with reference to the vertical axis 
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of the body, the mirror picture, even of a 
fairly regular countenance, must be altered 
to suit these vertical asymmetries. The idea 
of the vertical asymmetries is here the needed 
"third'' which interprets the difference be- 
tween the man's face when seen in the mirror 
and when seen out of the mirror. 

A lady who had passed part of her life in 
Australia, and part in England, once told me 
that, for years, she had never been able to 
imderstand the diflFerence which, to her eyes, 
existed between the full moon as seen in Eng- 
land and as observed by her during her years 
in Australia. At last she found the right 
mediating idea, when she came to notice how 
Orion also gradually became partially inverted 
during her journeys from English latitudes to 
those of the far southern seas. For the full 
moon, as she thus came to know, must 
be subject to similar apparent inversions; 
and this was the reason why the "man in 
the moon" had therefore been undiscoverable 
when she had heretofore looked for him in 
Australian skies. 

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IV 

When processes of comparison grow com- 
plicated, new "' third" terms or ^^ me diators'" 
may be needed at each stage of one's under- 
taking. So it is when a literary parallel 
between two poets or two statesmen is in 
question. Now one aiid now another trait 
or event or fcH-tune or deed may stand out 
as the mediating idea. But always, in such 
parallels, it is by means of the use of a "third" 
that each act of comparison is made possible, 
— whether the case in question be simple or 
complex. And the mediator plays each time 
the part which Peirce first formally defined. 

Let there arise the problem of drawing a 
literary parallel between Shakespeare and 
Dante. The task appears hopelessly complex 
and indeterniinate until, perhaps, the place 
which the sonnet occupied in the creative 
activity of each poet comes to our minds. 
Then indeed, although the undertaking is still 
vastly complicated, it is no longer quite so 
hopeless. If "with this key Shakespeare 

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unlocked his heart/' yet held fast its deepest 
mysteries ; while Dante accompanied each of 
the sonnets of the Vita Nuova with a comment 
and an explanation, yet left unspoken what 
most fascinates us in the supernatural figure 
of his beloved, — then "the sonnet," viewed 
as an idea of a poetical form, mediates between 
our ideas of the two poets, and represents or 
interprets each of these ideas to the other. 

This last example suggests an endless wealth 
of complexities. And the interpretation in 
question is also endlessly inadequate to our 
demands. But on its highest levels, as in its 
simplest instances, the process of explicit 
comparison is thus triadic, and to notice this 
fact is, for the purpose of our study of com- 
parison, illuminating. 

For when we merely set pairs of objects 
before us, and watch their resemblances and 
diflFerences, we soon lose ourselves in mazes. 
Yet even when the mazes are indeed not to be 
penetrated by any skill, still a triadic compari- 
son is much more readily guided towards the 
Ught. "How does A differ from C?" If you 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

can reply to this question by saying that, by 
means of B, A can be altogether transformed 
into C, or can, at least, be brought into a close 
resemblance to C, then the comparison of A 
to C is made definite. 

Let me choose still one more illustration 
of such a comparison. This time the illus- 
tration shall not come from the literary 
realm; yet it shall be more complex than is 
the instance of the comparison between a 
written word and its image in the mirror. 

If you cut a strip of paper, — perhaps an 
inch wide and ten inches long, — you can 
bring the two ends together and fasten them 
with glue. The result will be a ring-strip of 
paper, whose form is of a type very familiar in 
case of belts, finger-rings, and countless other 
objects. But this form can be varied in an 
interesting way. Before bringing the ends 
of the strip together, let one end of the paper 
be turned 180°. Holding the twisted end of 
the strip fast, glue it to the other. There 
now results an endless strip of paper having in 
it a single twist. Lay side by side an ordinary 

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ring-strip that has no twist, and a ring-strip 
of paper that has been made in the way just 
indicated. The latter strip has a single 
twist in it. Hereupon ask a person who has 
not seen you make the two ring-strips, to 
compare them, and to tell you wherein they 
agree and wherein they diflFer. 

To your question an ordinary observer, to 
whom this new form of ring-strip is unfamiliar, 
will readily answer that they obviously diflFer 
because one of them has no twist in it, while 
the other certainly has some kind of twist be- 
longing to its structure. So far the one whom 
you question indeed makes use of a "third'" 
idea. But this idea probably remains, so 
far, vague in his mind, and it will take your 
uninformed observer some time to make his 
comparison at all complete and exphcit. 

In order to aid him in his task, you may 
hereupon call his attention to the further fact 
that the ring-strip which contains the single 
twist has two extraordinary properties. It 
has, namely, but one side ; and it also has but 
one edge. The mention of this fact will at 

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first perplex the uninitiated observer. But 
when he has taken the trouble to study the 
new form, he will find that the idea of a "one- 
sided strip of paper'" enables him to compare 
the new and the old form, and to interpret 
his idea of the new ring-form to his old idea 
of an ordinary ring such as has no twist, and 
possesses two sides. 



In all the cases of explicit comparison which 
we have just considered, what takes place has, 
despite the endless varieties of circumstance, 
an uniform character. 

Whoever compares has before him what we 
have called two distinct ideas ; perhaps his 
ideas of these two printed or written words; 
or again, his ideas of these two ring-strips of 
paper; or, in another instance, his ideas of 
Dante and of Shakespeare. 

And the term " idea '' is used, in the present 
discussion, in the sense which James and other 
representative pragmatists have made famil- 
iar in current discussion. Let us then hold 

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clearly in mind this definition of the term 
" idea.'^ For we shall even thereby be led to 
note facts which will lead us beyond what 
this definition emphasizes. 

An idea, in this sense, is a more or less 
practical and active process, a "leading," 
as James calls it, whereby some set of con- 
ceptions and perceptions tend to be brought 
into desirable connections. An idea may 
consist mainly of some eflFort to characterize 
the data of perception through the use of 
fitting conceptions. Or, again, an idea may 
be a prediction of future perceptions. Or, an 
idea may be an active seeking for a way to 
translate conceptual "bank-notes" into per- 
ceptual cash. In any one idea, either the 
perceptual or the conceptual elements may, 
at any one moment, predominate. If the 
conceptual element is too marked for our 
purposes, the idea stands in need of perceptual 
fulfilment. If the perceptual element is too 
rich for our momentary interests, the idea 
needs further conceptual clarification. In any 
case, however, according to this view, the 

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which are to be compared. This third idea, 
when once found, interprets one of the ideas 
which are the objects of the comparison, and 
interprets it to the other, or in the Kght of the 
other. What such interpretation means, the 
instances already considered have in part 
made clear. But the complexity and the sig- 
nificance of the processes involved require a 
further study. And this further study may 
here be centred about the question : What is 
gained by the sort of comparison which Peirce 
thus characterizes ? And, since we have said 
that all such comparison involves an activity 
of interpreting one idea in the Kght of another, 
we may otherwise state our question thus: 
What, in these cases of comparison, is the 
innermost aim of the Will to Interpret which 
all these processes of comparison manifest ? 

VI 

The rhythm of the Hegelian dialectic, 
wherein thesis, antithesis, and higher synthesis 
play their familiar parts, will here come to 
the minds of some who follow my words; 

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and you may ask wherein Peirce's processes 
of comparison and interpretation diflFer from 
those dialectical movements through division 
into synthesis, which Hegel long since used as 
the basis of his philosophy. I reply at once 
that Peirce's theory of comparison, and of the 
mediating idea or '"third" which interprets, 
is, historically speaking, a theory not derived 
from Hegel, by whom at the tiixie when he 
wrote these early logical papers, Peirce had 
been in no notable way influenced. I reply, 
further, that Peirce's concept of interpreta- 
tion defines an extremely general process, of 
which the Hegelian dialectical triadic pro- 
cess is a very special case. Hegel's elemen- 
tary illustrations of his own processes are 
ethical and historical. Peirce's theory of 
comparison is quite as well illustrated by 
purely mathematical as by expKcitly social 
instances. There is no essential inconsistency 
between the logical and psychological mo- 
tives which he at the basis of Peirce's theory 
of the triad of interpretation, and the Hegelian 
interest in the play of thesis, antithesis, and 

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higher synthesis. But Peirce's theory, with 
its expKcitly empirical origin and its very 
exact logical working out, promises new light 
upon matters which Hegel left profoundly 
problematic. 

Returning, however, to those illustrations 
of Peirce^s theory of comparison which I have 
already placed before you, let us further con- 
sider the motives which make a comparison 
of distinct and contrasting ideas significant 
for the one who compares. 

An idea, as I have said, is, in Jameses sense, 
a practical "leading." An idea, if, in James's 
sense, successful, and if successfully employed, 
leads through concepts to the desirable or to 
the corresponding percepts. But a compari- 
son of ideas — that, too, is no doubt an active 
process. To what does it lead ? It leads, as 
we have seen, to a new, to a third, to an in- 
terpreting idea. And what is this new idea ? 
Is it "cash," or has it only " credit- value " .'^ 
What does it present to our view? What 
does it bring to our treasury ? 

One must for the first answer this question 

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in a very old-fashioned way. The new, the 
third, the interpreting idea, in these elemen- 
tary cases of comparison, shows us, as far as it 
goes, ourselves, and also creates in us a new 
grade of clearness regarding what we are and 
what we mean. First, I repeat, the new or 
third idea shows us ourselves, as we are. 
Next, it also enriches our world of self-con- 
sciousness. It at once broadens our outlook 
and gives our mental realm definiteness and 
self-control. It teaches one of our ideas what 
another of our ideas means. It tells us how 
to know our right hand from the left; how 
to connect what comes to us in fragments; 
how to live as if Kfe had some coherent aim. 
All this is indeed, thus far, very elementary 
information about what one gains by being 
able to hold three ideas at once in mind. 
But, in our own day, such information is im- 
portant information. For our age, supposing 
that the contrast between perception and 
conception exhausts the possible types of 
cognitive processes, is accustomed to listen 
to those who teach us that self-knowledge also 

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must be either intuitive (and, in that ease, 
merely fluent and transient) or else conceptual 
(and, in that case, abstract and sterile). 

But a dual antithesis between perceptual 
and conceptual knowledge is once for all in- 
adequate to the wealth of the facts of life. 
When you accomplish an act of comparison, 
the knowledge which you attain is neither 
merely conceptual, nor merely perceptual, nor 
yet merely a practically active synthesis of per- 
ception and conception. It is a third type of 
knowledge. It interprets. It surveys from 
above. It is an attainment of a larger unity 
of consciousness. It is a conspectus. As the 
tragic artist looks down upon the many varying 
lives of his characters, and sees their various 
motives not interpenetrating, but cooperating, 
in the dramatic action which constitutes his 
creation, — so any one who compares distinct 
ideas, and discovers the third or mediating 
idea which interprets the meaning of one in 
the light of the other, thereby discovers, or 
invents, a realm of conscious unity which co;i- 
stitutes the very essence of the life of reason. 

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Bergson, in his well-known portrayal, has 
glorified instinct in its contrast with the in- 
tellect. The intellect, as he holds, is a mere 
user of tools. Its tools are concepts. It ui?es 
them in its practical daily work to win useful 
percepts. It loves to be guided in its daily 
industries by rigid law. It is therefore most 
at home in the realm of mechanism and of 
death. Life escapes its devices. Its concepts 
are essentially inadequate. Instinct, on the 
contrary, so far as man stiH preserves that 
filmy cloud of luminous instinct and of in- 
tuition which, in Bergson's opinion, constitutes 
the most precious resource of genius, per- 
ceives, and sympathizes, and so comes in 
touch with reality. 

That this account of the cognitive process 
is inadequate, both the artist and the proph- 
ets combine with the scientific observers of 
nature, with the mathematicians, and with the 
great constructive statesmen, to show us. 
Comparison is the instrument of what one 
may call, according to one's pleasure, either 
the observant reason, or the rational intuition 

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whereby the world's leading minds have always 
been guided. And it is comparison, it is 
interpretation, which teaches us how to deal 
with the living, with the significant, and with 
the genuinely real. 

Darwin, for instance, as a naturalist, saw, 
compared, and mediated. We all know how 
the leading ideas of Malthus furnished the 
mediating principle, the third, whereby Dar- 
win first came to conceive how the contrasting 
ideas with which his hypotheses had to deal 
could be brought into unity. And that such 
comparison is peculiarly adapted to deal with 
the phenomena of life, let not only the genesis 
of Darwin's ideas, but the place of the pro- 
cess of comparison in the development of all 
the organic sciences, show. 

If we turn to the other extreme of the world 
of human achievement, in order to learn what 
is the sovereign cognitive process, we shall 
find the same answer. For let us ask, — By 
means of what insight did Amos the prophet 
meet the religious problems of his own people 
and of his own day? He faced tragic con- 

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trasts, moral, religious, and political. War- 
ring ideas were before him, — ideas, each of 
which sought its own percepts, through its 
own concepts of God, of worship, and of suc- 
cess. But Amos introduced into the con- 
troversies of his time the still tragic, but in- 
spiring and mediating, idea of the God who, as 
he declared, delights not in sacrifices but in 
righteousness. And by this one stroke of re- 
ligious genius the prophet directed the re- 
ligious growth of the centuries that were to 
follow. 

Think over the burial psalm, or the Pauline 
chapters on Charity and the Resurrection, if 
you would know what part comparison and 
mediation play in the greatest expressions of 
the religious consciousness. Remember Lear 
or the Iliad, if you wish to recall the functions 
of contrast and of mediation in poetry. Let 
the Sistine Madonna or Beethoven's Fifth 
Symphony illustrate the same process in 
other forms of the artistic consciousness. 

If once you have considered a few such 
instances, then, summing up their familiar 

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lessons, you may note that in hone of these 
cases is it conception, in none of them is it 
bare perception, least of all is it inarticulate 
intuition, which has won for us the greatest 
discoveries, the incomparable treasures in 
science, in art, or in religion. 

The really creative insight has come from* 
those who first compared and then mediated, 
who could first see two great ideas at once, 
and then find the new third idea which medi- 
ated between them, and illumined. 

We often use the word "vision'' for this in- 
sight which looks down upon ideas as from 
above, and discovers the "third,'' thereby 
uniting what was formerly estranged. If by 
the word "intuition" one chooses to mean 
this grade of insight, then one may indeed 
say that creative mental prowess depends, 
in general, upon such intuition. But such in- 
tuition is no mere perception. It is certainly 
not conception. And the highest order of 
genius depends upon reaching the stage of 
Peirce's "third" type of ideas. Comparison, 
leading to the discovery of that which mediates 

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THE WILL TO INTERPRET 

and solves, and to the vision of unity, is the 
psychological basis of poetry, as Shakespeare 
wrote, and of such prophecy as Paul praised 
when he estimated the spiritual gifts. Com- 
parison, then, and interpretation constitute 
the cognitive function whereby we deal with 
life. Instinct and bare perception, left to 
themSelves, can never reach this level. 

VII 

When we consider the inner life of the in- 
dividual man, the Will to Interpret appears, 
then, as the will to be self-possessed. One 
who compares his own ideas, views them as 
from above. He aims to pass from blind 
" leadings'' to coherent insight and to resolute 
self-guidance. What one wins as the special 
object of one's insight depends, in such cases, 
upon countless varying psychological condi- 
tions, and upon one's success in finding or in 
inventing suitable mediators for the inter- 
pretation of one idea in the light of another. 
It may therefore appear as if in this realm 
of interior comparisons, where the objects 
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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

compared are pairs of ideas, and where re- 
sults of comparison consist in the invention 
of a third, there could be no question of at- 
taining fixed or absolute truth. If anywhere 
pragmatism could be decisively victorious; 
if anywhere the purely relative and transient 
would seem in possesssion of the field, — one 
might suppose that comparison would con- 
stantly furnish us with instances of relative, 
shifting, alid fluent truth. 

As a fact, however, this is not the case. 
Comparison, which is so powerful an instru- 
ment in dealing with life, and with the fluent 
and the personal, is also perfectly capable of 
bringing us into the presence of the exact and 
of the necessary. All depends upon what 
ideas are compared, and upon the purpose for 
which they are compared, and upon the skill 
with which the vision of unity is attained. 

Let the comparison of the two ring-strips of 
paper show what I here have in mind. The 
difference between a ring-strip which con- 
tains a single twist, and another which is 
constructed in the usual way, seems at first 

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sight to be both insignificant and inexact. A 
closer study shows that the geometry of sur- 
faces that possess but a single side can be 
developed into as exact a branch of pure math- 
ematics as you can mention. The develop- 
ment in question would depend upon assuming, 
quite hypothetically, a few simple principles 
which are suggested, although not indeed 
capable of being proved, by experience of 
the type which recent pragmatism has well 
analyzed. The branch of pure mathematics 
in question would consist of deductions 
from these few simple principles. The 
deductions would interpret these principles, 
viewed in some sort of unity and compared 
together. 

But recent pragmatism has not well an- 
alyzed the process whereby, in pure mathe- 
matics, the consequences which follow from a 
set of exactly stated hypotheses are deter- 
mined. This process, the genuine process of 
deduction, depends upon a series of ideal 
experiments. These experiments are per- 
formed by means of putting together ideas, 

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two and two, by comparing the ideas that are 
thus brought together, by discovering medi- 
ators, and by reading the results of the 
combination. This process may lead to 
perfectly exact results which are absolutely 
true. 

I know of no writer who has better or more 
exactly analyzed the way in which such ideal 
experiments can lead to novel and precise 
results than Peirce has done. His analysis 
of the deductive process was first made 
a good while since, and anticipated re- 
sults which Mr. Bertrand Russell and others 
have since reached by other modes of pro- 
cedure. 

Peirce has shown that, when you interpret 
your combinations of ideas through ideal 
experiments, using, for instance, diagrams 
and symbols as aids, the outcome may be a 
truth as exact as the ideas -compared are 
themselves exact. It may also be in your 
own experience as novel a result as your 
ideal experiment is novel. It may also be an 
absolute and immutable truth. 

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What you discover, in a case of deduction, 
is not that certain conclusions are, in them- 
selves, considered true, but that they follow 
from, that they are implied by, certain hypo- 
thetically assumed premises. But a discovery 
that certain premises imply a certain con- 
clusion, is the discovery of a fact. This fact 
may be foimd, not by perception, nor by con- 
ception, but by interpretation. None the 
less, it is a fact and it may be momentous. 

It is customary to imagine that such a 
deductive process can get out of given prem- 
ises nothing novel, but only (as people often 
say) — only what was already present in the 
premises. This customary view of deduction 
is incorrect. As Peirce repeatedly pointed 
out (long before any other writer had explic- 
itly dealt with the matter), you can write out 
upon a very few sheets of paper all the prin- 
ciples which are actually used as the funda- 
mental hypotheses that lie at the basis of those 
branches of pure mathematics which have 
thus far been developed. Yet the logical 
consequences which follow from these few 

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mathematical hypotheses are so numerous 
that every year a large octavo volume in fine 
print is needed to contain merely the titles, 
and very brief abstracts, of the technical 
papers containing novel results which have 
been, during that year, published as researches 
in pure mathematics. 

The niathematical papers in question em- 
body, in general, consequences already im- 
plied by the few fundamental hypotheses 
which I have just mentioned. An infinite 
wealth of still unknown consequences of the 
same principles remains yet to be explored 
and stated. All of these consequences can 
be won, in pure mathematics, by a purely de- 
ductive procedure. 

Thus endlessly wealthy, thus possessed of 
an inexhaustible fecundity/ is the genuine 
deductive process. Peirce long ago showed 
why. And while the mathematical procedure 
which is in question cannot here be further 
discussed, it is enough for our present purpose 
to indicate why this fecundity of deduction 
exists. 

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THE WILL TO INTERPRET 

VIII 

Deduction, in the real life of the exact 
sciences, is a process that recent pragmatism 
has no means of describing, simply because 
recent pragmatism is the prey of the dual 
classification of the cognitive processes, and 
views what it calls the "workings'' of ideas 
merely in terms of the relations between con- 
ceptions and perceptions, — between "credit- 
values'' and "cash- values." 

Pragmatism, as James defined it, regards 
an idea as a "leading," whereby one pursues 
or seeks particulars ; and whereby one some- 
times obtains, and sometimes fails to obtain, 
the "cash- values" which one aims to get. 
Such a doctrine has no place for the imder- 
standing of what happens when, looking down 
as it were from above, one compares two ideas, 
and looks for a mediating idea. But just 
this is what happens in all cases of explicit 
comparison. 

Now in the individual case, an interpreta- 
tion, a mediating idea, may come to mind 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

through almost any play of association, or 
as the result of almost any degree of skill in 
invention, or as the outcome either of serious 
or of playful combinations. In consequence, 
an interpretation may prove to be, in the single 
case, of purely relative and momentary truth 
and value. 

But this, on the other hand, need not be 
the fortime of interpretation. The results of 
a comparison may express absolute truths, — 
truths which once seen can never be reversed. 
This absoluteness itself may be due to either 
one of two reasons. 

In pure mathematics, a deduction, if cor- 
rect at all, leads to an absolutely correct and 
irrevocably true discovery of a relation of 
implication between exactly stated premises 
and some conclusion. Deduction does this 
because deduction results from a comparison, 
and because the ideas compared may be, and 
in pure mathematics are, exact enough to sug- 
gest, at some moment, to the observant rea- 
soner, an interpretation which, if it applies 
at all, applies universally to every pair of 

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ideas identical in meaning with the pair of 
ideas here compared. 

The act of comparison may be momentary, 
and may even be as an event, an accident. 
The inventive watcher of his own ideas may 
have been led to his deduction by whatever 
motive you please. But the interpretation, 
once discovered, may nevertheless represent 
a truth which is absolute precisely because it is 
hypothetical. For the assertion : "P implies 
Q,'' or "If P, then Q,'' is an assertion about 
a matter of fact. And this assertion, if true 
at all, is always and irrevocably true about 
the same pair of ideas or propositions : P and 

Q. 

Or again, the result of an interpretation 
may be absolutely true, because, for whatever 
reason, the interpretation in question counsels 
the one who makes the interpretation to do 
some determinate and individual deed. This 
deed may be such as to accomplish, at the 
moment when it is done, some ideally valuable 
result. But deeds once done are irrevocable. 
If, by interpreting your ideas in a certain way, 

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IX 

Our lengthy study of comparison and inter- 
pretation, as they are present in the inner life 
of the individual man, has prepared us for a 
new view of the social meaning of the Will 
to Interpret. Here I must once more take a 
temporary leave of Peirce's guidance, and trust 
to my own resources. 

One who compares a pair of his own ideas 
may attain, if he is successful, that vision of 
unity, that grade of self-possession, which we 
have now illustrated. But one who under- 
takes to interpret his neighbor's ideas is in a 
different position. 

In general, as we have seen, an interpreter, 
in his social relations with other men, deals 
with two different minds, neither of which he 
identifies with his own. His interpretation is 
a "third'' or mediating idea. This "third" 
is aroused in the interpreter's mind through 
signs which come to him from the mind that 
he interprets. He addresses this "third" 
to the mind to which he interprets the first. 

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The psychology of the process of social in- 
terpretation, so far as that process goes on in 
the interpreter's individual mind, is identical 
with that psychology of comparison which 
we have now outlined. Nobody can interpret, 
unless the idea which he interprets has become 
more or less clearly and explicitly one of his 
own ideas, and unless he compares it with 
another idea which is, in some sense, his own. 

But, from the point of view of the interpre- 
ter, the essential difference between the case 
where he is interpreting the mind of one of his 
neighbors to the mind of another neighbor, 
and the case wherein he is comparing two ideas 
of his own, is a difference in the clearness 
of vision which is, under human conditions, 
attainable. 

When I compare two ideas of my own, the 
luminous self-possession which then, for a time, 
may come to be mine, forms for me an ideal 
of success in interpretation. This ideal I can 
attain only at moments. But these mo- 
ments set a model for all my interpretations 
to follow. 

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When I endeavor to interpret my neigh- 
bor's mind, my interpretation has to remain 
remote from its goal. The luminous vision of 
the results of comparison comes to me, at 
best, only partially and with uncertainty. My 
neighbor's ideas I indeed in a measure grasp, 
and compare with other ideas, and interpret ; 
but, as I do this, I see through a glass darkly. 
Only those ideas whose comparisons with 
other ideas, and whose resulting triadic in- 
terpretations I can view face to face, can ap- 
pear to me to have become in a more intimp,te 
and complete sense my own individual ideas. 
When I possess certain ideas sufficiently to 
enable me to seek for their interpretation, 
but so that, try as I will, I can never clearly 
survey, as from above, the success ojf any of 
my attempted interpretations, — then these 
ideas remain, from my own point of view, 
ideas that never become wholly my own. 
Therefore these relatively ahen ideas can be 
interpreted at all only by using the familiar 
hypothesis that they belong to the self of some 
one else. Under ordinary social conditions 

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this other mind is viewed as the mind of my 
neighbor. Neither of my neighbor nor of my- 
self have I any direct intuition. But of my 
own ideas I can hope to win the knowledge 
which the most successful comparisons ex- 
emplify. Of my neighbor's ideas I can never 
win, under human conditions, any interpreta- 
tion but one which remains hypothetical, 
and which is never observed, under these 
human conditions, as face to face with its 
own object, or with the idea of the other 
neighbors to whom the interpretation is 
addressed. 

The Will to Interpret is, in our social re- 
lations, guided by a purpose which we are 
now ready to bring into close relations with 
the most significant of all the ethical ideals 
which, in our foregoing lectures, we have por- 
trayed. 

The interpreter, the mind to which he ad- 
dresses his interpretation, the mind which 
he imdertakes to interpret, — all these ap- 
pear, in our explicitly human and social world, 
as three distinct selves, — simdered by chasms 

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which, under human conditions, we never 
cross, and contrasting in their inner hves in 
whatever way the motives of men at any 
moment chance to contrast. 

The Will to Interpret undertakes to make 
of these three selves a Community. In 
every case of ideally serious and loyal effort 
truly to interpret this is the simplest, but, in 
its deepest jnotives, the most purely spiritual 
of possible communities. Let us view that 
simple and ideal community as the interpreter 
himself views it, precisely in so far as he is 
sincere and truth-loving in his purpose as 
interpreter. 



I, the interpreter, regard you, my neighbor, 
as a realm of ideas, of "leadings,'' of mean- 
ings, of pursuits, of purposes. This realm 
is not wholly strange and incomprehensible 
to me. For at any moment, in my life as 
interpreter, I am dependent upon the results 
of countless previous efforts to interpret. 
The whole past history of civilization has 

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resulted in that form and degree of inter- 
pretation of you and of my other JFellow-men 
which 1 already possess, at any instant when 
I begin afresh the task of interpreting your 
life or your ideas. You are to me, then, a 
realm of ideas which lie outside of the centre 
which my will to interpret can momentarily 
illumine with the clearest grade of vision. 
But I am discontent with my narrowness 
and with your estrangement. I seek unity 
with you. And since the same will to inter- 
pret you is also expressive of my analogous 
interests in all my other neighbors, what I 
here and now specifically aim to do is this : 
I mean to interpret you to somebody else, to 
some other neighbor, who is neither yourself 
nor myself. Three of us, then, I seek to bring 
into the desired unity of interpretation. 

Now if I could succeed in interpreting you 
to another man as fully as, in my clearest 
moments, I interpret one of my ideas to 
another, my process of interpretation would 
simply reduce to a conscious comparison of 
ideas. I should then attain, as I succeeded 

VOL. II — p 209 



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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

in my interpretation, a luminous vision of 
your ideas, of my own, and of the ideas of 
the one to whom I interpret you. This vi- 
sion would look down, as it were, from above. 
In the light of it, we, the selves now sundered 
by the chasms of the social world, should 
indeed not interpenetrate. For our func- 
tions as the mind interpreted, the mind to 
whom the other is interpreted, and the inter- 
preter, would remain as distinct as now they 
are. There would be no melting together, no 
blending, no mystic blur, and no lapse into 
mere intuition. But for me the vision of the 
successful interpretation would simply be the 
attainment of my own goal as interpreter. 
This attainment would as little confound our 
persons as it would divide our substance. 
We should remain, for me, many, even when 
viewed in this unity. 

Yet this vision, if I could win it, would 
constitute an event wherein your will to be 
interpreted would also be fulfilled. For if 
you are indeed ready to accept my service as 
interpreter, you even now possess this will 

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to be interpreted. And if there exists the 
one to whom I can interpret you, that other 
also wills that you should be interpreted to 
him, and that I should be the interpreter. 

If, then, I am worthy to be an interpreter i 
at all, we three, — you, my neighbor, whose 
mind I would fain interpret, — you, my 
kindly listener, to whom I am to address my 
interpretation, — we three constitute a Com- / 
munity. Let us give to this sort of com- 
munity a technical name. Let us call it a 
Community of Interpretation. 
• The form of such a community is deter- 
minate. 

One goal lies before us all, one event towards 
which we all direct our efforts when we take 
part in this interpretation. This ideal event is 
a goal, unattainable under human social condi- 
tions, but definable, as an ideal, in terms of 
the perfectly familiar experience which every 
successful comparison of ideas involves. It 
is a goal towards which we all may work to- 
gether: you, when you give me the signs 
that I am to interpret ; our neighbor, when he 

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listens to my interpretation ; I, when I devote 
myself to the task. 

This goal: — Our individual experience of 
our successful comparisons of our own ideas 
shows us wherein it consists, and that it is no 
goal which an abstract conception can define in 
terms of cre4it-values, and that it is also no 
goal which a possible perception can render to 
me in the cash of any set of sensory data. Yet 
it is a goal which each of us can accept as his 
own. I can at present aim to approach that 
goal through plans, through hypotheses regard- 
ing you which can be inductively tested. I can. 
view that goal as a common future event. 
We can agree upon that goal. And herewith 
I interpret not only you as the being whom 
I am to interpret, but also myself as in ideal 
the interpreter who aims to approach the vi- 
sion of the unity of precisely this community. 
And you, and my other neighbor to whom I 
address my interpretation, can also interpret 
yourselves accordingly. 

The conditions of the definition of our com- 
mimity will thus be perfectly satisfied. We 

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shall be many selves with a common ideal 
future event at which we aim. Without es- 
sentially altering the nature of our community, 
our respective oflSces can be, at our pleasure, 
interchanged. You, or my other neighbor, can 
at any moment assume the function of inter- 
preter ; while I can pass to a new position in 
the new community. And yet, we three shall 
constitute as clearly as before a Community'of 
Interpretation. The new community will be 
in a perfectly definite relation to the former 
one; and may grow out of it by a process 
as definite as is every form of consciou3 
interpretation. 

Thus there can arise, in our community, 
no problem regarding the one and the many, 
the quest and the goal, the individual who 
approaches the goal by one path or by another, 
— no question to which the definition of the 
community of interpretation will not at once 
furnish a perfectly precise answer. 

Such an answer will be based upon the 
perfectly fundamental triadic relation which 
is essential to every process of interpretation, 

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whether such process takes place within the 
inner life of an individual human being, or 
goes on in the world of ordinary social inter- 
course. 

XI 

Thus, then, if I assume for the moment the 
r61e of an interpreter, I can define my oflSce, 
my Community of Interpretation, and my 
place in that community. 

It will be observed that the sort of truth 
which, as interpreter, I seek, cannot be stated 
in terms as simple as those with which the 
current pragmatism is satisfied. My inter- 
pretation, if I offer to our common neighbor 
any interpretation of your mind, will of course 
be an idea of my own, — namely, precisely 
that "third" idea which I contribute to our 
community as my interpretation of you. And 
i^o doubt I shall desire to make as sure as I 
can that this idea of mine " works." But no 
data of my individual perception can ever 
present to me the "workings" which I seek. 

For I want my interpretation of you to 

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our neighbor to be such as you would accept 
and also such as our neighbor would compre- 
hend, were each of us already in the position 
of the ideal observer from above, whose vision 
of the luminous unity of my interpretation 
and its goal I am trying to imitate whenever 
I try to interpret your mind. 

Thus, from the outset, the idea which I 
offer as my interpretation of your mind, is 
offered not for the sake of, or in the pursuit 
of, any individual or private perception of my 
own, either present or expected or possible. 
I am not looking for workings that could con- 
ceivably be rendered in my perceptual terms. 
I am ideally aiming at an ideal event, — the 
spiritual unity of our community. I can de- 
fine that unity in perfectly empirical terms; 
because I have compared pairs of ideas which 
were my own, and have discovered their 
mediating third idea. But I do not expect 
to perceive that unity as any occurrence in 
my own individual life, or as any working of 
one of my own personal ideas. In brief, I 
have to define the truth of my interpretation 

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of you in terms of what the ideal observer of 
all of us would view as the unity which he 
observed. This truth cannot be defined in 
merely pragmatic terms. 

In a community thus defined, the interpreter 
obviously assumes, in a highly significant 
sense, the chief place. For the community 
is one of interpretation. Its goal is the ideal 
unity of insight which the interpreter would 
possess were these who are now his neighbors 
transformed into ideas of his own which he 
compared; that is, were they ideas between 
which his own interpretation successfully 
mediated. The interpreter appears, then, as 
the one of the three who is most of all the 
spirit of the community, dominating the ideal 
relations of all three members. 

But the one who is, in ideal, this chief, is 
so because he is first of all servant. His oflSce 
it is to conform to the mind which he inter- 
prets, and to the comprehension of the mind 
to which he addresses his interpretation. 
And his own ideas can "work'' only if his 
self-surrender, and his conformity to ideas 

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which are not his own, is actually a successful 
copformity ; and only if his approach to a 
goal which, as member of a human community 
of interpretation, he can never reach, is a real 
approach. 

XII 

Such are the relationships which constitute 
a Community of Interpretation. I beg you 
to observe, as we close, the ethical and reli- 
gious significance which the structure of such 
a community makes possible. In case our 
interpretations actually approach success, a 
community of interpretation possesses such 
ethical and religious significance, with increas- 
ing definiteness and beauty as the evolution 
of such a community passes from simpler to 
higher stages. 

Upon interpretation, as we have already 
seen, every ideal good that we mortals win 
together, under our human social conditions, 
depends. Whatever else men need, they need 
their communities of interpretation. 

It is indeed true that such communities 

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can exist, at any time, in the most various 
grades of development, of self-consciousness, 
and of ideality. The communities of inter- 
pretation which exist in the market-places of 
the present social world, or that he at the 
basis of the diplomatic intercourse of modern 
nations, are communities whose ideal goal is 
seldom present to the minds of their mem- 
bers ; and it is not love which often seems to 
be their consciously ruling motive. 

Yet, on the whole, it is not perception, and 
it is not conception; while it certainly is 
interpretation which is the great humanizing 
factor in our cognitive processes and which 
makes the purest forms of love for conmiuni- 
ties possible. Loyalty to a community of 
interpretation enters into all the other forms 
of true loyalty. No one who loves mankind 
can find a worthier and more significant way 
to express his love than by increasing and ex- 
pressing among men the Will to Interpret. 
This will inspires every student of the humani- 
ties; and is present wherever charity enters 
into life. ^ When Christianity teaches us to 

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hope for the community of all mankind, we 
can readily see that the Beloved Community, 
whatever else it is, will be, when it comes, a 
Community of Interpretation. When we con- 
sider the ideal form and the goal of such a 
community, we see that in no other form, and 
with no other ideal, can we better express the 
constitution of the ideal Church, be that con- 
ceived as the Church on earth, or as the 
Church triumphant in some ideal realm of 
superhuman and all seeing insight, where I 
shall know even as I am known. 

And, if, in ideal, we aim to conceive the 
divine nature, how better can we conceive 
it than in the form of the Community of 
Interpretation, and above all in the form of 
the Interpreter, who interprets all to all, and 
each individual to the world, and the world of 
spirits to each individual. 

In such an interpreter, and in his commimity , 
the problem of the One and the Many would 
find its ideally complete expression and solu- 
tion. The abstract conceptions and the mys- 
tical intuitions would be at once transcended, 

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and illumined, and yet retained and kept 
clear and distinct, in and through the life of 
one who, as interpreter, was at once servant 
to all and chief among all, expressing his will 
through all, yet, in his interpretations, regard- 
ing and loving the will of the least of these 
his brethren. In him the Community, the In- 
dividual, and the Absolute would be completely 
expressed, reconciled, and distinguished. 

This, to be sure, is, at this point of our 
discussion, still merely the expression of an 
ideal, and not the assertion of a metaphysical 
proposition. But in the Will to Interpret, 
the divine and the human seem to be in 
closest touch with each other. 

The mere form of interpretation may be 
indeed momentarily misused for whatever 
purpose of passing human folly you will. 
But if the ideal of interpretation is first 
grasped; and if then the Community of 
Interpretation is conceived as inclusive of all 
individuals; and as unified by the common 
hope of the far-off event of complete mutual 
understanding; and, finally, if love for this 

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community is awakened, — then indeed this 
love is able to grasp, in ideal, the meaning of 
the Church Universal, of the Communion of 
Saints, and of God the Interpreter. 
- ^Merely to define such ideals is not to solve 
the problems of metaphysics. But it is to 
remove many obstacles from the path that 
leads towards insight. 

These ideals, however, are grasped and 
loved whenever one first learns fully to com- 
prehend what Paul meant when he said: 
"Wherefore let him that speaketh with 
tongues pray that he may interpret." This 
word is but a small part of Paul's advice. 
But in germ it contains the whole meaning 
of the office, both of philosophy and of reli- 
gion. 



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LECTURE XIII 

THE WORLD OF INTERPRETATION 

IN the closing lecture of a course delivered 
a few years since, on the "Problem of 
Age, Growth, and Death,'' Professor Charles 
S. Minot, of Harvard University, in summa- 
rizing the results of his studies, used these 
words : "I do not wish to close without a few 
words of warning explanation. For the views 
which I have presented before you in this 
series of lectures, I personally am chiefly re- 
sponsible. Science consists in the discoveries 
made by individuals, afterwards confirmed 
and correlated by others, so that they lose 
their personal character. You ought to know 
that the interpretations which I have offered 
you are still largely in the personal stage. 
Whether my colleagues will think that the 
body of conceptions which I have presented 
are fully justified or not, I cannot venture to 
say.*' 
This was the word of a distinguished leader 

VOL. II — Q 225 



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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

of research in Comparative Anatomy. It 
expressed, in passing, a view about the general 
character of scientific method which the 
same author, not very long afterwards, set 
forth at much greater length in a lecture 
before his own section at a meeting of the 
American Association for the Advancement 
of Science. In that lecture "On the Method 
of Science"' Professor Minot carefully ex- 
pounded, and very extensively illustrated, the 
thesis that, while natural science is dependent 
upon the experiences of individuals for every 
one of its advances in the knowledge of the 
facts of nature, no experience of any individual 
man can count as a scientific discovery until 
it has been sufficiently confirmed by other 
and by independent observers. Professor 
Minot speaks of this confirmation by fellow 
workers as constituting a sort of "depersonal- 
izing" of the discoveries of each individual 
observer. 

The thesis here in question is familiar. I 
cite Professor Minot's words, not as if he him- 
self thought them at all novel, but merely in 

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order to bring at the moment as directly as 
possible to your minds what we all know to 
be an essential feature of the methods of 
natural science. 



For my own part, I should not say, as Dr. 
Minot does, that the discoveries of the in- 
dividual worker in a natural science "lose their 
personal character'' by receiving the confirma- 
tion which makes them possessions of science. 
I think that I understand what my colleague 
means by calling this process a "depersonaliz- 
ing'* of the individual's contributions to scien- 
tific work. But I should myself prefer to 
express this well-known maxim of method by 
saying that the individual observer's dis- 
coveries have first to be interpreted to the 
scientific community, and then substantiated 
by the further experience of that community, 
before they belong to the science. In still 
other words, the work of science is what, in 
the athletic phrase, is called team-work. The 
spirit of science is one of loyalty to a Com- 

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munity of Interpretation. The term Com- 
munity of Interpretation I here use in the 
technical sense defined in the foregoing lecture. 

But however you choose to formulate the 
rule, the lesson of which it reminds us is one 
which concerns philosophers quite as much as 
it does the students of nature. Let us attempt 
to read this lesson, and to generaUze it. We 
shall find it to be a lesson in metaphysics. 

Our knowledge of nature depends upon 
experience. An experience, in order to be 
useful for the purposes of physical science, 
must involve the testing, or at all events the 
present success, of an idea. In this expe- 
rience percepts and concepts must be brought 
into synthesis. Some idea about nature, as 
the pragmatists tell us, must be found to 
"work,'' at least in the one case which is first 
in question when a new natural fact is found. 
A scientific discovery consists in the obser- 
vation of such a "working.'' And so far all 
who have learned how the study of the phys- 
ical world is carried on, will agree regarding 
the bases of scientific knowledge. 

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n 

Discoveries, however, are made by indi- 
viduals. The individual discoverer, then, must 
be the one who first finds that, at a certain 
moment, and for him personally, concepts 
and percepts meet thus and thus. Some 
question of his is answered, and, in general, 
some hypothesis of his is for the moment 
verified. The individual observer finds that 
"cash"" is rendered to correspond to certain 
^'credit- values" which he has previously 
possessed only in conceptual form. Some 
interest of his in the search for percepts is, 
at least momentarily, fulfilled. Unless at 
least so much takes place in the life of some- 
body, science is not enriched by a new dis- 
coveiy. 

Such, then, are the necessary conditions 
which must be met if a scientific advance is 
to take place. But are these conditions 
suflScient ? Does every case wherein the in- 
dividual finds novel ''cash payment'* rendered 
for some of his own "credit-values,'* and new 

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perceptual answers given to his conceptual 
questions, and "workings'* crowning with at 
least momentary success an idea of his own 
about nature, — an idea which has heretofore 
"worked" for no other man, — does every 
such case involve a genuine scientific dis- 
covery? Can the individual simply turn 
over to his science the "cash" which his 
percepts have now rendered ? Can he ad- 
dress all who are concerned thus ? — "Lo, I 
have indeed found a new scientific fact. 
Scientific facts are facts of experience. I 
have had an experience. True ideas are 
ideas which *work.' Here is an idea of mine; 
and this time it * works,' for I have seen its 
* working.' You want in science, not mere 
concepts, but percepts. I have a percept. 
You want, not mere credit, but cash. I have 
the cash ; and here it is." 

Is this the sole way in which the individual 
wins access to new scientific facts ? And is 
this the spirit in which the trained scientific 
observer — for instance, the colleague whom 
I have just cited — reports his discoveries ? 

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No, these conditions of a scientific dis- 
covery are necessary, but not suflScient. 
The individual has made his discovery; but 
it is a scientific discovery only in case it can 
become, through further confirmation, the 
property and the experience of the community 
of scientific observers. The process whereby 
the transition is made from the individual 
observation to the needed confirmation is 
one whose technical details, as they appear 
in the hfe of any one special science, interest 
us here not at all. But what does interest 
us, first of all, is the fact that this confirma- 
tion always involves a typical instance, or a 
series of instances, of Peirce's cognitive pro- 
cess called interpretation. What further con- 
cerns us is that this interpretation is guided by 
principles which are, in their bearings, both 
very general and highly metaphysical. One 
needs no other principles than these for dealing 
with all the central problems of philosophy. 

I am far from accusing my colleague. Pro- 
fessor Minot, of any conscious intention to 
express an opinion about a problem of meta- 

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physics when he uttered his loyal word of warn- 
ing regarding his own scientific discoveries. 
But none the less, this appeal to the scientific 
community implies a belief that there is such 
a community. This beUef is due not to per- 
ception or to conception alone. This belief in 
the reality of the scientific community is itself 
no beUef in a fact which is open to the scientific 
observations of any individual. No observer 
of nature has ever discovered, by the methods 
used in his or in any natural science, that there 
exists any such community. The existence of 
the community of scientific observers is known 
through interpretation. This interpretation 
expresses essentially social motives, as well as 
profoundly ethical motives. And this inter- 
pretation is also of a type which we are obUged 
to use in dealing with the whole universe. 

Ill 

Let me illustrate the thesis which I have 
just expressed. Let us first consider why the 
individual observer must await the confirma- 
tion of others before his discovery can get its 

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place as a contribution to a physical science. 
Let us use our foregoing study of the cog- 
nitive process of interpretation as a further 
aid towards the understanding of the relations 
between an individual scientific man and the 
work of the natural science to which he may 
contribute. 

There is a well-known maxim of common 
sense which tells us that no man should be 
judge in his own case. The patient does ill 
who attempts to be his own physician. The 
htigant, even if he happens to be a lawyer, 
needs somebody besides himself as his counsel. 
The judge on the bench may not undertake 
to try a suit in which he is plaintiff or defend- 
ant. Even a great statesman needs aid 
when his own fitness for oflSce is in question. 
The artist, however original, may be an un- 
trustworthy critic of his own genius. 

This maxim of common sense, at least in its 
application to patients, to litigants, to oflSce- 
seekers, or to artists, seems to be somewhat 
remote from the maxim of scientific naethod 
which Professor Minot formulated. And yet, 

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in both maxims, essentially the same prin- 
ciple is in question. Why is a man in so 
many cases so poor a judge of his own case ? 
Why ought not the most expert of judges to 
undertake to decide a case in which he is 
plaintiff or defendant ? Why is it, in general, 
true, as they say, that the man who is his 
own lawyer has a fool for a chent ? Why is 
every one of us disqualified from self -estimate 
in respect of some of the matters which per- 
sonally concern us most of all ? 

IV 

The general answers to these questions are 
easy. A man's own case is usually not merely 
his own. It also concerns some social order 
to which he belongs. The litigant stands in 
presence, not merely of his own rights and 
wrongs, but of the whole social will. The 
decision of his case will affect many besides 
himself, and sometimes might save or wreck 
a nation. The patient's illness is not merely 
a medical phenomenon, and not merely an 
individual misfortune, but also is an event 

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of social moment. His family, and perhaps 
his country, may be affected by what is done 
with this single case. Napoleon's state of 
health, during the later years of his power, 
probably influenced the course of all future 
European history. And the obscurest vic- 
tim of the plague may prove to be a centre of 
infection for a whole continent. Hence, when 
anybody is ill, his case is not merely his own. 

When a man's affairs deeply concern other 
people besides himself, the only way to deal 
justly with the case is to interpret this man's 
own individual views and interests to some 
fitting representative of the social will, in 
order that the matter may be arbitrated, or 
in order that the wills of all concerned may 
be, as far as possible, both harmonized and 
expressed. A Community of Interpretation 
must exist or must be formed. 

The sufferer who is ill, or the man who is 
haled into court, needs, then, not only to be 
an object of perception or of conception. 
It is not enough to wait in order to see whether 
his ideas "work" or not. What is needed is 

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the triadic process of mediating between his 
mind and some other mind, between his 
ideas and other men's ideas. 

And no interpreter who merely blended 
with the mind and the ideas of the one whom 
he is to interpret, or with the interests of 
those whom he is to address, could do the 
work. The distinction of the persons, or of 
the personal functions involved, is as essential 
to a Community of Interpretation as is the 
common task in which these three persons 
engage, or in which these three distinct ideas 
or personal functions cooperate. 

Now it is indeed perfectly possible for a 
man to undertake the task of interpreting his 
own case. There are instances in which we 
all of us wisely attempt some form of self- 
interpretation. There are callings, such as 
those of the trained administrators and of 
the sea-captains, in which it becomes a regular 
part of a man's duty, even at moments when 
great and novel emergencies arise, to interpret 
his own duty to himself. 

In a previous lecture, we have seen how 

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such enterprises of self-interpretation are 
actually carried out. At some present mo- 
ment, a man may interpret his past plans, 
his habits, his resolutions, his ideals, his 
obhgations, to his future self, and thereupon 
may give commands to himself. 

The psychology of such processes is simply 
that of comparison, when comparison is 
taken in Peirce's sense, as a triadic mode of 
cognition. In such instances a man dis- 
covers a third or mediating idea, whereby 
two of his own distinct ideas are, within the 
limits of his individual consciousness, woven 
into a threefold unity. Now that this can 
sometimes be accomplished with success, the 
sea-captain — who, while on the bridge, faces 
a great emergency and consults no other man, 
yet gives fitting orders and succeeds — well 
illustrates. The captain's task, of course, con- 
cerns the interests of a social order. But his 
training has prepared him to unite in his own 
person certain functions of a community. 

From one essential feature of his self- 
imposed task, however, the man who acts 

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as his own adviser in any socially significant 
situation, cannot be relieved. He attempts, 
at such a moment, to do the work of three 
men at once. The three personal functions 
which must be brought into unity if the work 
is to be successfully done, remain distinct. 
They must not blend. If they actually blend, 
the whole affair becomes a blind product of 
instinct or of routine, and not any genuine 
self-direction whatever. As a fact, there are 
some callings which train a man for such a 
threefold task. There are some situations 
in Ufe wherein any mature man who knows 
his own business has to act as his own ad- 
viser. But the task has its diflSculty deter- 
mined by its form. An individual has, in 
all such instances, to do the work of a com- 
munity. 

Now in case of illness, of legal peril, or of 
the personal estimate to which the artist or 
the statesman is subjected by the social will, 
experience shows that a man is seldom, and, 
in sufficiently great emergencies, is never able 
to act with success as his own adviser. The 

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reasons for this sort of defect are two: 
First, the question at issue concerns the in- 
terests of at least two distinct individuals; 
and hence, whether the patient or the liti- 
gant, or other man in question endeavors to 
be his own director or not, the task is essen- 
tially such that it can be accomplished only 
by the aid of an interpreter. For just be- 
cause more than one individual must be rightly 
treated, there exists some social boundary 
which must be crossed. Therefore neither the 
"cash-values** nor the "credit-values" of in- 
dividual ideas are mainly in question. The 
"exchange-values'* of two distinct forms of 
ideal coinage are to be considered. And so the 
adjustment required has to be triadic in its in- 
most form. But secondly, while this process of 
interpretation, this crossing of our ideal boun- 
dary, can indeed be undertaken within the 
Umits of an individual man*s consciousness, as 
it is undertaken whenever we compare two 
distinct ideas of our own, — experience shows 
that the effort to fill at once the functions of 
three distinct persons does not succeed with 

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the patients and with the Ktigants, although 
analogous threefold functions may succeed 
in case of the sea-captains and the great ad- 
ministrators. 



Let us return to the case of the scientific 
observer, — not because the maxim defined 
by my colleague is either obscure or doubtful, 
but because the underlying principle needs 
to be brought clearly to our consciousness. 

Common sense regards the physical world as 
a realm whose objects can be experienced in 
common by many observers. We have not 
here to inquire into the origin of this special 
belief. But the belief can be readily illus- 
trated by the way in which two men who 
row in the same boat regard the boat and the 
oars which they see and touch, and the water 
over which they fly. 

Each man views the boat and the oars and 
the water as objects which he experiences for 
himself. At the same time, each of the two 
men believes that both of them are expe- 

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riencing, while they row together, the same 
external facts, — the same boat, the sam£ oars, 
the same water. 

It is important for our purposes to notice 
that, while each individual, as he pulls his 
oar, verifies some of his own ideas, and finds 
them " working *' in his own individual ex- 
perience, neither of them individually verifies 
the '^workings'' of the other man's ideas. 
Consequently, when each man believes that 
the boat in which he observes himself to be 
rowing is the same boat as the one which the 
other man also finds as an object in his own 
experience, — this beKef , as each of the men 
possesses it, is not a perception, and is not veri- 
fied by the individual "workings'" of the ideas 
of either of the men. 

I This beUef in the common object is, for 
each of the men, an interpretation, which he 
may address to the other man, or may regard 
the other as in turn addressing to him. ■ 

The cognitive process involved is through 
and through triadic. 

The boat which each man finds, sees, 

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touches, and feels himself pull, appears to 
him as verifying his own ideas. The com- 
mon boat, the boat which each man regards 
as an object not only for his own, but also for 
his neighbor's experience, is essentially an 
object of interpretation. 

The real boat may indeed actually be what 
each of the two men takes it to be; and it 
may be the same boat as that boat which 
each man verifies in his own experience* But 
if this is the case, and if the boat is really a 
common object of experience for both the 
oarsmen, then the community of interpreta- 
tion into which the two men enter whenever 
they talk about their boat or about their 
rowing, is a community which even now views 
both itself and its boat as it would view both 
of them in case its goal were actually attained, 
and in case the interpretation had been trans- 
formed into a perfectly clear vision of a com- 
parison of ideas. 

In any case, however, it is useless to attempt 
to express the community of experience which 
the two oarsmen possess in terms of the 

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separate "workings" of the ideas of either 
of them or of both, taken as mutually de- 
tached individuals. 

Each rower verifies his own idea of the boat. 
Neither of them, as an individual, verifies the 
other's idea of this boat. Each of them, as 
interpreter, either of himself or of the other 
man, believes that their two individual ex- 
periences have a common object. Neither 
can (merely as this individual) verify this 
idea. Neither could, as an individual, ever 
verify his belief in the interpretation, even 
although they two should row in the same 
boat together until doomsday. 

If the common interpretation is true, then 
the two oarsmen actually form a community 
of interpretation, and are even now believing 
what would be seen to be true if, and only if, 
this community of interpretation were actually 
to reach its goal. 

Pragmatism, whose ideas, like those of the 
bewitched Galatians, are fain to be saved solely 
by their own "works,** is, as I believe, quite 
unable to define in its own dyadic terms, the 

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essentially spiritual sense in which any in- 
terpretation can be true, and the sense in 
which any community of interpretation could 
reach its goal. Nothing, however, is better 
known to us, or is more simply empirical, 
than is the reaching of such a Umited but 
determinate goal of interpretation, when- 
ever we ourselves compare two distinct ideas 
of our own, and survey with clearness the 
union of the mediating or third idea with 
those whose contrasts it interprets. The oars- 
men who not only row in the same boat, but 
who are able to talk over together their boat 
and their rowing, interpret their imited life 
and work as such a real community of inter- 
pretation. 

They constantly interpret themselves as 
the members, and their boat as the empirical 
object of such a community. And they con- 
stantly define what could be actually verified 
only iV the goal of the community were 
reached. By merely rowing they will indeed 
never reach it. But does the real world any- 
where or anyhow contain the actual winning 

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of the goal by the community ? If not, then 
the ideas of the interpreters are actually and 
always quite unverifiable. Yet their com- 
munity, by hypothesis, is real. But if the 
real world contains the actual winning of the 
goal by the community, then the verifying 
experience is not definable in the terms which 
pragmatism uses. 

For such a goal is essentially the experience 
of a community; and the success, — the 
salvation, — the final truth of each idea, or 
of each individual person, that enters into 
this community, is due (when the goal is 
reached) neither to its "works'* nor to its 
workings, but to its essentially spiritual unity 
in and with the community. 

VI 

The case of the two men rowing together 
in the same boat is a case in which common 
sense raises no question regarding the physical 
reality of the boat. Such a question is, for 
common sense, unnecessary, simply because 
the interpretation of the boat as the common 

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object of the experience of both the rowers is 
already made obvious by the essentially social 
nature and training of all of us. Our social 
consciousness is, psychologically speaking, the 
most deeply rooted foundation of our whole 
view of ourselves and of the world; and we 
therefore tend from the outset to make inter- 
pretation, rather than perception or concep- 
tion, our ruling cognitive process whenever 
explicitly social relations are concerned. And 
so, for common sense, the physical objects, 
especially when they appear to us in the field 
of our experience of sight and of touch, are 
regarded as essentially common objects, — 
the same for all men. For do we not appear 
to see men dealing together with these conmion 
objects ? 

This is an interpretation ; but it is an early 
and a natural interpretation. So long as we 
are untrained to reflection, we remain indeed 
unaware of the principles which lie at the 
basis of such common-sense opinions about 
natural facts. 

These principles come to a clearer conscious- 

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ness only when scientific methods, or similarly 
critical undertakings, have made us sceptical 
in our scrutiny of experience. 

Professor Minot's maxim expresses one 
result of such criticism. This maxim simply 
generalizes the view which the two men row- 
ing in the boat naturally take. 

vn 

If physical objects are especially to be 
viewed as objects which are or which can 
become common objects of experience for 
various men, then whoever says, ""I have 
discovered a physical fact,'" is not merely 
reporting the workings of his own individual 
ideas. He is interpreting. He is therefore 
appealing to a community of interpretation. 

If he has found a really not-el object in his 
own individual experience, then this object 
has not already won its place, as the boat 
and the oars and the water have long since 
done, among the recognized objects of com- 
mon experience. If hereupon the discoverer 
persists, as an individual, in interpreting his 

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own experience; if he says, with direct con- 
fidence, "Since my ideas here work in this 
novel way, I have found a new physical 
fact,'" — then the discoverer is attempting 
to be judge in his own cause. His perils are, 
therefore, quite analogous to those which the 
patient faces who attempts to be his own 
physician, or to the dangers which the man 
encounters who enters court as his own 
counsel. 

The source and the limitations of these 
perils we now know. The observer of a new 
fact may justly be, at least for the time, his 
own interpreter, in case his training has 
rightly prepared him for the scientific emer- 
gency of a notable discovery made by him 
while he is working alone. For in such a case 
the discoverer has already become expert in 
the arts of his community. Yet always the 
scientific discoverer is, in principle, subject 
to Professor Minot's maxim. Isolated ob- 
servations of individuals, even when these 
individuals are of the highest grade of expert- 
ness, are always unsatisfactory. And the 

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acknowledged facts of a natural science are 
the possessions of the community. 

That the scientific community itself exists, 
is therefore one of the most important prin- 
ciples used in the natural sciences. Often 
this principle is more or less subconscious. 
It is seldom adequately analyzed. 

vin 

Our previous study has prepared us to 
imderstand the constitution of the scientific 
community of interpretation more precisely 
than would be possible without such a basis 
as we now possess. The scientific community 
consists, at the least, of the original discoverer, 
of his interpreter, and of the critical worker 
who tests or controls the discoverer's observa- 
tions by means of new experiences devised 
for that purpose. 

Usually, of course, in case the discovery has 
attracted much attention, the critic whose con- 
trol is in question is no one individual man. 
For then the work of testing the discovery 
is done by a large body of individual workers. 

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In many cases, in the routine work of the 
highly developed sciences, the interpreter's 
task takes, in large part, the form of sim- 
ply reporting and recording the discoverer's 
observations. 

But Professor Minot calls attention to 
another and a very important part of the 
office of mediating between the discoverer 
and his community. Professor Minot speaks 
of the way in which scientific discoveries are 
"correlated" by others than those who made 
them. This process of correlation, involves, 
upon its higher levels, elaborate comparisons. 
How complex and how significant, for the 
advance of science, this aspect of the pro- 
cess of interpretation may be, the historical 
instance of Clerk Maxwell's theoretical in- 
terpretation of Faraday's discoveries in Elec- 
tricity and Magnetism will suggest sufficiently 
for our present purpose. 

As for the work of criticism and of control 
to which the interpretation leads, it is not 
only capable of infinite complexity, but in- 
volves various reversals in the direction of 

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the process of interpretation. Criticism and 
control often come from those who, as in the 
typical case of the discoveries of Darwin, 
address the discoverer, and arouse him to 
make new discoveries. 

But however complex the processes which 
arise in the course of such undertakings, the 
essential structure of the community of scien- 
tific interpretation remains definitely the 
same. The existence of this community is 
presupposed as a basis of every scientific in- 
quiry into natural facts. And the type of 
truth which is sought by scientific investi- 
gators is one which indeed includes, but which 
simply cannot be reduced to, the dyadic type 
to which pragmatism devotes its exclusive 
attention. For everybody concerned, while 
he indeed aims to have his own ideas **work,'' 
is also concerned with the truth of his inter- 
pretations, and of those which are addressed 
to him. And such truth can be fully tested, 
under our human conditions, only in the cases 
wherein, for the interpretation of another 
human individual's mind, the comparison of 

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distinct ideas is substituted, while these ideas 
fall within the range of our individual in- 
sight. 

f In all other cases, just as in our ordinary 
social dealings with one another, we aim tow- 
ards the goal of the community of inter- 
pretation. Our will is the ''will to interpret." 
We do not reach the goal in any one moment, 
so long as we are dealing with other human 
beings. Yet we interpret the goal. For the 
goal of the community is always precisely that 
luminous knowledge which we do, in a limited 
but in a perfectly definite form, possess, 
within the range of our own individual life 
whenever our comparisons of distinct ideas 
are made with clearness. 
? We define the facts of the common social 
experience in terms of this perfectly concrete 
and empirical goal of the scientific community 
of interpretation. This goal is a certain 
type of spiritual unity. All scientific re- 
search depends upon loyalty to the cause 
of the scientific community of interpreta- 
tion. 

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IX 

But how — so one may still insist — 
should we know that any community of in- 
terpretation exists ? 

This question brings us indeed to the very 
centre of metaphysics. From this point out- 
wards we can survey all the principal prob- 
lems about reality. The will to interpret, 
in all of its forms, scientific or philosophical 
or religious, presupposes that somehow, at 
some time, in some fitting embodiment, a 
community of interpretation exists, and is 
in process of aiming towards its goal. Any 
conversation with other men, any process of 
that inner conversation whereof, as we have 
seen, our individual self-consciousness con- 
sists, any scientific investigation, is carried 
on under the influence of the generally sub- 
conscious belief that we all are members of 
a community of interpretation. When such 
enterprises are at once serious and reasonable 
and truth-loving, the general form of any such 
community, as we have already observed, is 

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that of the ideal Pauline Church. For there 
is the member whose office it is to edify. 
There is the brother who is to be edified. 
And there is the spirit of the community, 
who is in one aspect the interpreter, and in 
another aspect the being who is interpreted. 
Now what is the warrant for believing in the 
reality of such a community ? 
I For a general answer to this question let 
us hereupon consult the philosophers. The 
philosophers differ sadly amongst themselves. 
They do not at present form a literal human 
community of mutual enlightenment and of 
growth in knowledge, to any such extent as 
do the workers in the field of any one of the 
natural sciences. The philosophers are thus 
far individuals rather than consciously mem- 
bers one of another. The charity of mutual 
interpretation is ill developed amongst them. 
They frequently speak with tongues and do 
not edify. And they are especially disposed 
to contend regarding their spiritual gifts. 
We cannot expect them, then, at present to 
agree regarding any one philosophical opinion. 

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Nevertheless, if we consider them in a his- 
torical way, there is one feature about their 
work to which, at this point, I need to call 
especial attention. 

I have already more than once asserted 
that the principal task of the philosopher 
is one, not of perception, not of conception, 
but of interpretation. This remark refers 
in the first place to the office which the philoso- 
phers have filled in the history of culture. 



Common opinion classes philosophy among 
the humanities. It ought so to be classed. 
Philosophers have actually devoted themselves, 
in the main, neither to perceiving the world, 
nor to spinning webs of conceptual theory, 
but to interpreting the meaning of the civili- 
zations which they have represented, and to 
attempting the interpretation of whatever 
minds in the universe, human or divine, they 
believed to be real. That the philosophers 
are neither the only interpreters, nor the 
chiefs among those who interpret, we now well 

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know. The artists, the leaders of men, and 
all the students of the humanities, make 
interpretation their business ; and the triadic 
cognitive function, as the last lecture showed, 
has its applications in all the realms of knowl- 
edge. But in any case the philosopher's 
ideals are those of an interpreter. He ad- 
dresses one mind and interprets another. 
The unity which he seeks is that which is 
characteristic of a community of interpre- 
tation. 

The historical proofs of this thesis are mani- 
fold. A correct summary of their meaning 
appears in the common opinion which classes 
philosophy amongst the humanities. This 
classification is a perfectly just one. The 
humanities are busied with interpretations. 
Individual illustrations of the historical oflSce 
of philosophy could be furnished by consider- 
ing with especial care precisely those his- 
torical instances which the philosophers fur- 
mish who, like Plato or like Bergson, have 
most of all devoted their efforts to empha- 
sizing as much as possible one of the other 

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cognitive processes, instead of interpretation. 
For the more exclusively such a philosopher 
lays stress upon perception alone, or con- 
ception alone, the better does he illustrate 
our historical thesis. 

Plato lays stress upon conception as fur- 
nishing our principal access to reality. Berg- 
son has eloquently maintained the thesis 
that pure perception brings, us in contact with 
the real. Yet each of these philosophers ac- 
tually offers us an interpretation of the uni- 
verse. That is, each of them begins by taking 
account of certain mental processes which 
play a part in human life. Each asks us 
to win some sort of touch with a higher type 
of consciousness than belongs to our natural 
human existence. Each declares that, through 
such a transformation of our ordinary con- 
sciousness, either through a flight from the 
vain show of sense into the realm of pure 
thought, or else through an abandonment of 
the merely practical labors of that user of 
tools, the intellect, we shall find the pathway 
to reality. Each in his own way interprets 
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our natural mode of dealing with reality to 
some nobler form of insight which he believes 
to be corrective of our natural errors, or else, 
in turn, interprets the supposed counsels of 
a more divine type of knowledge to the blind- 
ness or to the barrenness or to the merely 
practical narrowness of our ordinary exist- 
ence. 

Each of these -philosophers mediates, in 
his own way, between the spiritual existence 
of those who sit in the darkness of the cave of 
sense, or who, on the other hand, wander in 
the wilderness of evolutionary processes and 
of intellectual theories ; — he mediates, I say, 
between these victims of error on the one 
hand, and that better, that richer, spiritual 
life and the truer insight, on the other hand, 
of those who, in this philosopher's opinion, 
find the homeland — be that land the Pla- 
tonic realm of the eternal forms of being, or 
the dwelling-place which Bergson loves, — 
where the artists see their beautiful visions of 
endless change. 

In brief, there is no philosophy of pure con- 

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ception, and there is no philosophy of pure 
perception. Plato was a leader of the souls 
of those men to whom he showed the way out 
of the cave, and in whom he inspired the love 
of the eternal. Bergson winningly devotes 
himself to saying, as any artist says, "Come 
and intuitively see what I have intuitively 
seen." 

Such speech, however, is the speech neither 
of the one who trusts to mere conception, 
nor of one who finds the real merely in per- 
ception. It is the speech of an interpreter, 
who, addressing himself to one form of per- 
sonaUty or of Kfe, interprets what he takes 
to be the meaning of some other form of Ufe. 

This thesis, that the philosopher is an in- 
terpreter, simply directs our attention to the 
way in which he is required to define his 
problems. And the universality of these 
problems makes this purely elementary task 
of their proper definition at once momentous 
and diflScult, We shall not lose by any con- 
sideration which rightly fixes our attention 
upon an essential aspect of the process of 

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knowledge which the philosopher seeks to con- 
trol. For the philosopher is attempting to 
deal with the world as a whole, with reaUty 
in general. 

Why is it that the philosopher has to be an 
interpreter even when, Uke Bergson or like 
Plato, he tries to subordinate interpretation 
either to conception alone or to perception 
alone? Why is it that when, in his loftiest 
speculative flights, he attempts to seize upon 
some intuition of reason, or upon some form 
of direct perception, which shall reveal to him 
the inmost essence of reality, he nevertheless 
acts as interpreter ? 

The answer to this question is simple. 

XI 

If, as a fact, we could, at least in ideal, and 
as a sort of speculative experiment, weld all 
our various ideas, our practical ideas as well 
as our theoretical ideas, together into some 
single idea, whose "leading'' we could follow 
wherever it led, from concept to percept, or 
from percept to concept; and if we could 

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reduce our problem of reality simply to the 
question, Is this one idea expressive of t^e 
nature of reality? — then indeed some such 
philosophy as that of Bergson, or as that of 
Plato, might be formulated in terms either of 
pure perception or of pure conception. Then 
the philosopher who thus welded his ideas 
into one idea, and who then assured himself 
of the success of that one idea, would no 
longer be an interpreter. 

Thus, let us imagine that we could, with 
Spinoza, weld together into the one idea of 
Substance, the totality of ideas, that is of prag- 
matic leadings, which all men, at all times, 
are endeavoring to follow through their ex- 
perience, or to express through their will. 
Suppose that this one idea could be shown to 
be successful. Then our philosophy could 
assume the well-known form which Spinoza 
gav-e to his own : — 

By substance, Spinoza means that which 
is "in itself and which needs no other to sus- 
tain or in any ideal fashion to contain it. 
Hereupon the philosopher finds it easy to 

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assert that whatever is in any sense real must 
indeed be either "in itself*' or "in another/' 
No other idea need be used in estimating 
reahties except the idea thus defined. The 
only question as to any object is: Is this a 
substance or not ? A very brief and simple 
process of conceptual development, then, 
brings us to Spinoza's result that whatever 
is "in another" is not in the highest sense real 
at all. Therefore there remains in our world 
only that which is real "in itself." The one 
idea can be realized only in a world which is, 
once for all, the Substance. The tracks of all 
finite creatures that are observed near the 
edge of the cave of this Substance lead (as 
was long ago said of Spinoza's substance) 
only inwards. The world is defined in terms 
of the single idea, all other human ideas or 
possible ideas being but special cases of the 
one idea. The real world is purely con- 
ceptual, and is also monistic. 

Suppose, on the other hand, that we indeed 
recognize with Bergson, and with the pragma- 
tists, an endless and empirical wealth of ideas 

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which, in practical Ufe, lead or do not lead 
from concepts to percepts, as experience may 
determine. Suppose, however, that, with 
Bergson, we first notice that all these ideal 
leadings of the intellect constitute, at best, 
but an endlessly varied using of tools. Sup- 
pose that hereupon, with Bergson and with 
the mystics, we come to regard all this Ufe 
of the varied ideas, this mechanical using of 
mere tools, this mere pragmatism, as an essen- 
tially poorer sort of Ufe from which nature has 
long since deUvered the nobler of the insects, 
from which the artists can and do escape, 
and from which it is the loftiest ideal of phi- 
losophy to Uberate those who are indeed to 
''know reaUty. 

Then indeed, though not at all in Spinoza's 
way, all the ideal leadings which the philosopher 
has henceforth to regard as essentially illu- 
minating, will simply blend into a single idea. 
This idea will be the one idea of winning a 
pure intuition. We shaU define reaUty in 
terms of this pure intuition. And hereupon 
a purely perceptual view of reaUty will result. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

If, then, all the ideas of men, if all ideas of 
reaUty, could collapse or could blend or could 
otherwise be ideally welded into a single 
idea, then this idea could be used to define 
reaKty, just as pragmatism has come to define 
all the endless variety of forms of "truth'' in 
terms of the single idea which gets the name 
"success" or "working'* or "expediency" or 
"cash-value," according to the taste of the 
individual pragmatist. 

xn 

As a fact, however, the genuine problem, 
whether of reahty, or of truth, cannot be 
faced by means of any such blending of all 
ideal leadings into a single ideal leading. 

We all of us beUeve that there is any real 
world at all, simply because we find ourselves 
in a situation in which, because of the frag- 
mentary and dissatisfying conflicts, antitheses, 
and problems of our present ideas, an inter- 
pretation of this situation is needed, but is not 
now known to us. By the ''real world'' we 
mean simply the " true interpretation " of this 

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THE WORLD OF INTERPRETATION, 

our problematic situation. No other reason 
can be given than this for beheving that there 
is any real world at all. From this one con- 
sideration, vast consequences follow. Let us 
next sketch some of these consequences. 

Whoever stands in presence of the problem 
of reaUty has, at the very least, to compare 
two essential ideas. These ideas are, re- 
spectively, the idea of present experience and 
the idea of the goal of experience. The con- 
trast in question has countless and infinitely 
various forms. In its ethical form the con- 
trast appears as that between our actual life 
and our ideal Ufe. It also appears as the Pau- 
line contrast between the flesh and the spirit ; 
or as the Stoic contrast between the life of the 
wise and the life of fools. It is also known to 
common sense as the contrast between our 
youthful hopes and our mature sense of our 
Umitations. The contrast between our future 
Ufe, which we propose to control, and our 
irrevocable past life which we can never recall, 
presents the same general antithesis. In the 
future, as we hopefully view it, the goal is 

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naturally supposed to lie. But the past, 
dead as it is often said to be, determines our 
present need, and sets for us our ideal task. 

In the world of theory the same contrast 
appears as that between our ignorance and 
our possible enUghtenment, between our end- 
lessly numerous problems and their solutions, 
between our innumerable uncertainties and 
those attainments of certainty at which our 
sciences and our arts aim. For our reUgious 
consciousness the contrasts between nature 
and grace, between good and evil, between our 
present state and our salvation, between God 
and the world, merely illustrate the antithesis. 

One can also state this antithesis as that 
between our Will (which, as Schopenhauer and 
the Buddhists said, is endlessly longing) and 
the Fulfilment of our will. Plato, on the one 
hand, and the mystics on the other, attempt 
to conceive or to perceive some such fulfilment, 
according as Plato, or as some mystic, em- 
phasizes one or the other of the two cognitive 
processes to which the philosophers have 
usually confined their attention. 

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This antithesis between two fundamental 
ideas presents to each of us the problem of 
the universe, and dominates that problem. 
For by the '' real world "' we mean the true 
interpretation of the problematic situation 
which this antithesis presents to us in so far 
as we compare what is our ideal with what is 
so far given to us. Whatever the real world 
is, its nature has to be expressed in terms of 
this antithesis of ideas. 

Two such ideas, then, stand in contrast 
when we face our problem of reaUty. They 
stand as do plaintiff and defendant in court, 
or as do the ideas of the suffering patient and 
his hopes of recovery, or as do the wrongs 
which the Utigant feels and the rights or the 
doom which the law allows him. The em- 
pirical shapes which the antithesis takes are 
simply endless in their wealth. They fur- 
nish to us the special topics which science and 
common sense study. But the general prob- 
lem which the antithesis presents is the 
world-problem. The question about what the 
real world is, is simply the question as to what 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

this contrast is and means. Neither of the two 
ideas can solve its own problem or be judge in 
its own case. Each needs a counsel, a medi- 
ator, an interpreter, to represent its cause to 
the other idea. 

In the well-known metaphysical expression, 
this contrast may be called that between ap- 
pearance and reality. The antithesis itself 
is in one sense the appearance, the phe- 
nomenon, the world-problem. The question 
about the real world is that furnished to us by 
our experience of this appearance. When we 
ask what the real world is, we simply ask what 
this appearance, this antithesis, this problem 
of the two contrasting ideas both is and means. 
So to ask, is to ask for the solution of the probr 
lem which the antithesis presents. That is, 
we ask: "What is the interpretation of this 
problem, of this antithesis ? '' The real world 
is that solution. Every special definition of 
reaUty takes the form of offering such a solu- 
tion. Whether a philosopher calls himself 
realist or idealist, monist or pluralist, theist 
or materiaUst, empiricist or rationalist, his 

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philosophy, wherever he states it, takes the 
form of saying: "The true, the genuine in- 
terpretation of the antithesis is such and 
such/' 

If you say that perhaps there is no solution 
of the problem, that hypothesis, if true, could 
be verified only by an experience that in itself 
would constitute a full insight into the mean- 
ing of the real contrast, and so would in fact 
furnish a solution. In any case, the real 
world is precisely that whose nature is ex- 
pressed by whatever mediating idea is such 
that, when viewed in unity with the two 
antithetical ideas, it fully compares them, 
and makes clear the meaning of the contrast. 
But an interpretation is real only if the appro- 
jyriate community is realy and is true only if that 
community reaches its goal. 

In brief, then, the real world is the Com- 
munity of Interpretation which is constituted 
by the two antithetic ideas, and their media- 
tor or interpreter, whatever or whoever that 
interpreter may be. If the interpretation is 
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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

of reality, then the community reaches its 
goal, and the real world includes its own in- 
terpreter. Unless both the interpreter and the 
community are real, there is no real world. 

xm 

After the foregoing discussion of the nature 
and the processes oi interpretation, we are 
now secure from any accusation that, from 
this point of view, the real world is anything 
merely static, or is a mere idea within the mind 
of a finite self, or is an Absolute that is di- 
vorced from its appearances, or is any merely 
conceptual reaUty, or is "out of time,'' or is a 
"block universe,'' or is an object of a merely 
mystical intuition. 

Interpretation, as we have seen in our general 
discussion of the cognitive process in question, 
demands that at least an infinite series of 
distinct individual acts of interpretation shall 
take place, imless the interpretation which is 
in question is arbitrarily interrupted. If, 
then, the real world contains the Community 
of Interpretation just characterized, this com- 

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munity of interpretation expresses its life in 
an infinite series of individual interpretation, 
each of which occupies its own place in a 
perfectly real order of time. 

If, however, this community of interpreta- 
tion reaches its goal, this whole time-process 
is in some fashion spanned by one insight 
which surveys the unity of its meaning. 
Such a viewing of the whole time-process by a 
single synopsis will certainly not be anything 
"timeless.'' It will not occur, on the other 
hand, at any one moment of time. But its 
nature is the one empirically known to us at 
any one moment when we clearly contrast 
two of our own ideas and find their mediator. 

XIV 

Nothing is more concretely known to us 
than are the nature, the value, and the goal of 
a community of interpretation. The most 
ideal as well as the most scientifically exact 
interests of mankind are boimd up with the 
existence, with the purposes, with the fortunes, 
and with the unity of such communities. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

The metaphysical doctrine just set forth in 
outline can be summed up thus : The prob- 
lem of reality is furnished to us by a certain 
universal antithesis of two Ideas, or, if one 
prefers the word, by the antithesis of two 
Selves. The first thesis of this doctrine is that 
Reality — the solution of this problem — is the 
interpretation of this antithesis, the process of 
mediating between these two selves and of in- 
terpreting each of them to the other. Such a 
process of interpretation involves, of necessity, 
an infinite sequence of acts of interpretation. 
It also admits of an endless variety within all 
the selves which are thus mutually interpreted. 
These selves, in all their variety, constitute the 
life of a single Community of Interpretation, 
whose central member is that spirit of the 
commimity whose essential function we now 
know. In the concrete, then, the universe 
is a community of interpretation whose life 
comprises and imifies all the social varieties 
and all the social communities which, for any 
reason, we know to be real in the empirical 
world which our social and our historical 

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sciences study. The history of the universe, 
the whole order of time, is the history and the 
order and the expression of this Universal 
Community. 

XV 

The method by which this doctrine has 
been reached may also be summarily stated 
thus : We began with a sketch of the essen- 
tially social character which belongs to our 
human knowledge of the physical world. 
Here one of our guides was the way in which 
common sense interprets the being of material 
objects. Our other guide was the maxim 
of scientific method which Professor Minot, 
wholly without any technically metaphysical 
purpose, has stated. The result of regarding 
our human experience of nature from these 
two points of view was that we foimd our 
belief in the reality of the physical world to 
be inseparable from our belief in the reality 
of a community of interpretation. The rest 
of our discussion has been a metaphysical gen- 
eralization of this first result. 
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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

Turning from these special instances to the 
general philosophical problem of reality, we 
next noticed the historical fact that phi- 
losophers have never been able to define a 
theory of the universe in purely conceptual 
terms, and have been equally imable to state 
their doctrines about the world in purely per- 
ceptual terms. The philosophers have always 
been interpreters, in our technical sense of 
that term. 

Is this limitation of the philosophers (if 
you call it a limitation) due to the fact that 
they have been, themselves, human beings, 
busied with interpreting life to their fellow- 
men, and imable therefore to dwell exclusively 
either upon perception or upon conception ? 

To this question we have answered that the 
philosopher's oflSce as interpreter is not forced 
upon him merely by the fact that he is ap- 
pealing, as man, to other men. The source 
of his task as interpreter lies deeper. Real- 
ity cannot be expressed exclusively either in 
perceptual or in conceptual form. Nor can 
its nature be described in terms of the "lead- 

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THE WORLD OF INTERPRETATION 

ings'' which any one idea can express. How- 
ever you attempt to weld all ideas into one 
idea (such as Spinoza's idea of substance), 
and then to hold that reality is the expression 
of this one idea, you stand in presence of a 
contrast, an antithesis of at least two ideas, 
"Appearance and Reality,'' "Actual and 
Possible," "Real and Ideal," or some other 
such pair. If you succeed in reducing this 
antithesis to its simplest statement, the world- 
problem then becomes the problem of defining 
the mediating idea in terms of which this con- 
trast or antithesis can be and is interpreted. 
If you define, however tentatively, such a 
mediating idea, and then offer the resulting 
interpretation as an account of what the real 
world is, your philosophy becomes an assertion 
that the universe itself has the form and the 
real character of a community of interpreta- 
tion. You have no reason for beUeving that 
there is any world whatever, except a reason 
which implies that some interpretation of the 
antithesis both exists and is true. A real and 
a true interpretation occur only in case the cor- 

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responding community exists and wins its 
goal. 

In irief , if any single idea endeavors to de- 
fine in terms of its own "leadings" the whole 
nature of things, that idea is in the position 
of the man who undertakes to be judge of his 
own cause. For it belongs to the nature of 
things to involve an interpretation of its own 
contrasts, and a mediation of its own an- 
titheses. To the world, then, belongs an In- 
terpreter of its own life. In this sense, then, 
the world is the process and the life of the 
Spirit and of the Community. 



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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 



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LECTURE XIV 

THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

THE Christian doctrine of life is domi- 
nated by the ideal of the Universal 
Community. Such was the thesis defended 
in the first part of this series of lectures. 
The real world itself is, in its wholeness, a 
Community. This was the metaphysical re- 
sult in which our study of the World of 
Interpretation, at the last time, culminated. 



Herewith the two assertions to which our 
study of the Problem of Christianity leads, 
are before you. Our concluding lectures must 
make explicit the relations between these two 
assertions. Hereby each of them will be 
interpreted in the light of the other. 

Metaphysical theory and religious experi- 
ence are always contrasting realms of inquiry 
and of insight. Therefore the task of our three 
concluding lectures constitutes a typical exer- 

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cise in the process of interpretation. We have 
to compare results which have been reached 
by widely diflFerent methods. We have to 
mediate between them. The method of inter- 
pretation is always the comparative method. 
To compare and to interpret are two names 
for the same fundamental cognitive process. 

The fitting order for such an enterprise is 
determined by the subject-matter. Since the 
metaphysical thesis with which our last lecture 
closed is very general, it will prove to be, in- 
deed, a worthless abstraction, unless we illus- 
trate its application to various special problems 
of life as well as of philosophy. What I can 
hope, within the limits of our brief remaining 
time, to make clearer, is what I may call the 
ground plan of the World of Interpretation. 

The universe, if my thesis is right, is a 
realm which is through and through domi- 
nated by social categories. Time, for instance, 
expresses a system of esaentially social rela- 
tions. The present interprets the past to the 
future. At each moment of time the results of 
the whole world's history up to that moment 

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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

I 

are, so to speak, summed up and passed over 
to the future for its new deeds of creation and 
of interpretation. I state this principle here 
in a simply dogmatic form, and merely as an ex- 
ample of what I have in mind when I say that 
the system of metaphysics which is needed to 
define the constitution of this world of inter- 
pretation must be the generalized theory of an 
ideal society. Not the Self, not the Logos, not 
the One, and not the Many, but the Community 
will be the ruling category of such a philosophy. 
I must attempt, then, within our brief re- 
maining time, to make this general metaphys- 
ical theory less abstract and more articulate. I 
must contrast our theory with others. I must 
make more explicit its relation to the Christian 
ideas. And then I must, in conclusion, survey 
what we have won, and summarize the outcome. 

II 

Let me begin by a few purely technical 
formulations. Charles Peirce, in the dis- 
cussions which we have now so freely used, 
introduced into logic the term "Sign." He 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRI9«?IANITY 

used that term as the name for an object to 
which somebody gives or should give an in- 
terpretation. I have not here to deal, at any 
length, with Peirce's development of his the- 
ory of Signs. His doctrine was, as you will 
recall, not at first stated as the basis for a 
metaphysical system, but simply as a part of 
a logical theory of the categories. My own 
metaphysical use of Pierce's doctrine of signs, 
in my account of the World of Interpretation 
at the last time, is largely independent of 
Peirce's philosophy. For the moment it is 
enough to say that, according to Peirce, just 
as percepts have, for their appropriate objects, 
individually existent Things ; and just as con- 
cepts possess, for their sole objects, Universals, 
— so interpretations have, as the objects which 
they interpret. Signs. In its most abstract 
definition, therefore, a Sign, according to 
Peirce, is something that determines an in- 
terpretation. A sign may also be called an 
expression of a mind; and, in our ordinary 
social intercourse, it actually is such an ex- 
pression. Or again, one may say that a sign 

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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

is, in its essence, either a mind or a quasi- 
mind, — an object that fulfils the functions 
of a mind. 

Thus, a word, a clock-face, a weather-vane, 

or a gesture, is a sign. Our reason for calling 

« 

it such is twofold. It expresses a mind, and it 
calls for an interpretation through some other 
mind, which shall act as mediator between 
the sign, or between the maker of the sign, 
and some one to whom the sign is to be read. 

Since an interpretation of a sign is, in its 
turn, the expression of the interpreter's mind, 
it constitutes a new sign, which again calls 
for interpretation; and so on without end; 
unless the process is arbitrarily interrupted. 
So much can be asserted as a purely logical 
thesis, quite apart from metaphysics. A sign, 
then, is an object whose being consists in the 
fact that the sign calls for an interpretation. 

The process of interpretation, as it occurs in 
our ordinary social life, sufficiently illustrates 
the meaning of Peirce's new term. Peirce 
insists that the signs, viewed simply from a 
logical point of view, constitute a new and 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

fundamentally important category. He sets 
this category as a "third/' side by side with 
the classic categories of the "uniVersals'' 
which form the "first'' category, and the 
"individuals," which, in Peirce's logic, form 
the "second" category. 

Peirce, as I have said, is not responsible for 
the metaphysical theory about the world of in- 
terpretation with which our last lecture closed. 
But his terminology enables us to summarize 
that theory by stating our own metaphysical 
thesis thus: "The universe consists of real 
Signs and of their interpretation." 

In the order of real time the events of the 
world are signs. They are followed by in- 
terpreters, or by acts of interpretation which 
our own experience constantly exemplifies. 
For we live, as selves, by interpreting the 
events and the meaning of our experience. 
History consists of such interpretations. 

These acts of interpretation are, in their 
turn, expressed, in the order of time, by new 
signs. The sequence of these signs and in- 
terpretations constitutes the history of the 

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universe. Whatever our experience exem- 
plifies, our metaphysical doctrine of signs 
generalizes, and applies to the world at large. 

The world's experience is> from this point 
of view, not merely a flux. For, as Bergson 
rightly asserts, the world of any present 
moment of time is a summary of the results of 
all past experience. This view of Bergson's, 
however, is no mere intuition, but is itself an 
interpretation. Our own metaphysical thesis 
states in terms of interpretation what Bergson 
states as if it were a result of simple intuition. 

Since any idea, and especially any antithesis 
or contrast of ideas, is, according to our meta- 
physical thesis, a sign which in the world 
finds its real interpretation, our metaphysical 
theory may be called a "doctrine of signs.'* 

The title which I have given to this lecture 
serves to direct attention, through the use 
of a purely technical term, to the main issue. 
This issue is the one presented by the thesis 
that the very being of the universe consists 
in a process whereby the world is interpreted, 
— not indeed in its wholeness, at any one 

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moment of time, but in and through an in- 
finite series of acts of interpretation. This 
infinite series constitutes the temporal order 
of the worid with all its complexities. The 
temporal order is an order of purposes and of 
deeds, simply because it is of the essence of 
every rational deed to be an effort to interpret 
a past Kfe to a future life ; while every act of 
interpretation aims to introduce unity into 
life, by mediating between mutually contrast- 
ing or estranged ideas, minds, and purposes. 
If we consider the temporal world in its whole- 
ness, it constitutes in itself an infinitely com- 
plex Sign. This sign is, as a whole, inter- 
preted to an experience which itself includes a 
synoptic survey of the whole of time. Such is 
a mere sketch of our doctrine of the world of 
interpretation. 

m 

I may aid towards a further understanding 
of our metaphysical thesis by using, at this 
point, an illustration. 

When you observe, at a crossing of roads, 

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a sign-post, you will never discover what 
the real sign-post is, either by continuing to 
perceive it, or by merely conceiving its struc- 
ture or its relations to any perceived objects, 
or to any merely abstract laws in heaven or 
in earth. Nor can you learn what the sign- 
post is by any process of watching in the 
course of your individual experience the 
"workings" of any ideas that it suggests to 
you as this individual man. You can under- 
stand what the sign-post is only if you learn to 
read it. For its very being as a sign-post 
consists in its nature as a guide, needing in- 
terpretation, and pointing the way. To know 
the real sign-post, you must then learn to 
interpret it to a possible hearer to whom you 
address your interpretation. This being to 
whom you address your interpretation must be 
a self distinct from your individual self. If, 
then, the sign-post is a sign-post at all, there are 
beings in the world that are neither individual 
objects of perception nor yet beings such that 
they are mere universals, — the proper ob- 
jects for conception. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

If the sign-post is a real sign-post, there is 
in the world a community constituted of at 
least three distinct minds. There is, first, 
the mind whose intention to point out the 
way is expressed in the construction of this 
sign-post. There is the mind to which the 
sign-post actually points out the way. But 
the sign-post does not eflFectively point out 
the way to anybody unless, either by the aid 
of his own individual memory, or of somebody 
who helps him to read the sign, he learns 
what the sign means. There must then be a 
third mind which interprets the sign-post to 
the inquiring wayfarer. The wayfarer, if he 
knows how to read, may be his own interpreter. 
But there remain the three distinct mental func- 
tions. There is the function of the mind whose 
purpose the sign expresses ; there is the mind 
which is guided by the interpretation of the 
sign; and there is the function of the interpre- 
ter to whom the reading of the sign is due. 
All these minds or functions must be real and 
distinct and must form one real community, 
if indeed the sign-post is a real sign-post at all. 

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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

This illustration may help us to grasp what 
the first thesis of our metaphysical doctrine 
means. Our experience, as it comes to us, 
is a realm of Signs. That is, the facts of 
experience resemble sign-posts. You can never 
exhaustively find out what they are by re- 
sorting either to perception or to conception. 
Nor can you define experience merely in terms 
of the sort of knowledge which pragmatism 
emphasizes. No "working'' of any single 
idea can show what a real fact of experience 
is. For a fact of experience, as you actually 
view that fact, is first an event belonging to 
an order of time, — an event preceded by 
an infinite series of facts whose meaning it 
summarizes, and leading to an infinite series 
of coming events, into whose meaning it is 
yet to enter. But the past and future of our 
real experience are objects neither of pure 
perception nor of pure conception. Nor can 
you, at any present moment, verify any pres- 
ent idea of yours about any past event. Nor 
can you define past and future in terms of 
the present workings of any ideas. Past 
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THE. PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

time and future time are known solely through 
interpretations. Past time we regard as real, 
because we view our memories as signs which 
need and possess their interpretations. Our 
expectations are interpreted to our future 
selves by our present deeds. Therefore we 
regard our expectations as signs of a future. 

Therefore, to a being who merely perceived 
and conceived, or who Uved wholly in the pres- 
ent workings of his ideas, past time and future 
time would be as meaningless as the sign-post 
would be to the wayfarer who could not read, 
and who found nobody to interpret to him 
its meaning. If the past and future are 
reaUlies, then they constitute a Ufe which 
belongs to some real community, whose ideas 
of past and of future are really interpreted. 

Now our doctrine of the world of interpre- 
tation extends to all reality the presupposi- 
tions which we use in all our deahngs with 
past and future time. Our memories are 
signs of the past; our expectations are signs 
of the future. Past and future are real in so 
far as these signs have their real interpretation. 

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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

Our metaphysical thesis generahzes the rules 
which constantly guide our daily interpre- 
tations of life. All contrasts of ideas, all 
Varieties of experience, all the problems which 
finite experience possesses, are signs. The 
real world contains (so our thesis asserts) the 
interpreter of these signs, and the very being 
of the world consists in the truth of the inter- 
pretation which, in the whole realm of experi- 
ence, these signs obtain. 

Let us turn back from these technical for- 
mulations and from these illustrations, and 
come again closer to the real life for which they 
are intended to stand. 

IV 

Despite my frequent mention of differ- 
ences, there is one respect in which I am in 
full agreement with the spirit of pragmatism, 
as James defined it. Any metaphysical thesis, 
if it has a meaning at all, is the expression of 
an attitude of the will of the one who asserts 
this thesis. 

In a remarkable recent book, entitled: 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

"Die Philosophic des Als Ob," Vaihinger has 
given his own formulation to a view which 
he originally reached independently of the 
influence of pragmatism. It is the view that a 
philosophy is, in its essence, a resolution to 
treat the real world as if that world possessed 
certain characters, and as if our experience 
enabled us to verify these characters. This 
resolution is, in its essence, an active attitude 
of the will. Therefore Voluntarism must form 
an essential part of every philosophy which 
justly interprets our metaphysical interests. 
For our metaphysical interests are indeed 
interests in directing our will, in defining our 
attitude towards the universe, in making 
articulate and practical our ideals and our 
resolutions. So far, I say, Vaihinger and the 
pragmatists are right. 

I do not beUeve, however, that our volun- 
tarism must remain a mere pragmatism. I 
have long defended a philosophy, both of 
human Ufe and of the universe, which I have 
preferred to call an "Absolute Voluntarism.'' 
I developed such a philosophy, partly under 

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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

the influence of James, but long before recent 
pragmatism was in question. In its most 
general form, this philosophy to which I 
myself adhere, asserts that, while every meta- 
physical theory is the expression of an attitude 
of the will, there is one, and but one, general 
and decisive attitude of the will which is the 
right attitude, when we stand in presence of 
the universe, and when we undertake to choose 
how we propose to bear ourselves towards 
the world. Any philosophy is inevitably a 
doctrine which counsels us to bear ourselves 
towards our world as if our experience were 
such and such. But I do not beUeve that the 
"Philosophy of the 'As if' is, as Vaihinger 
asserts, merely a system of more or less con- 
venient fictions. For if there are absolute 
standards for the will (and, in my own opin- 
ion, there are such standards), then the world 
of the will is no world of fictions. If there is 
one, and but one, right attitude of the will 
towards the universe, this attitude, when once 
assumed, is essentially creative of its own 
realm of deeds. Its so-called fictions are, 

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therefore, not mere fictions, for they constitute 
a real Ufe. Its so-called successes are no 
merely transient successes. For if there is 
any true success at all, every such success, 
however petty it seems, has a world-wide 
meaning. The realm of true success is not 
merely a world of change. For deeds once 
done are irrevocable; and every deed echoes 
throughout the universe. The past is un- 
changing. The expression of the will con- 
stitutes itself an actual Ufe. The creative 
activity of the will is therefore no mere play 
with figments. It has the reality of a realm 
of deeds. And every deed has a value that 
extends throughout the world of the will. 
Each act is to be judged in the Ught of the 
principle: "Inasmuch as ye have done it 
unto the least of these.'' 

I do not wish here to dwell upon the general 
features which I have repeatedly ascribed to 
this world of the will, where every fact is the 
expression of an individual decision, and is 
therefore an absolute fact. I do not intend to 
repeat even the outKnes of my former state- 

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ments, both of this absolute voluntarism and 
of my own type of idealism. I have too often 
told that tale. So far as possible, I wish, in 
the present exposition, to speak as if all my 
former words were unspoken. 

As a fact, I still hold by all the essential 
features of these former attempts to state 
the case for idealism. But at present I am 
deahng with the World of Interpretation, and 
with the metaphysics of the Community. 
This I believe to be simply a new mode of 
approach to the very problems which I have 
formerly discussed. • 

My present interest lies in applying the 
spirit of my absolute voluntarism to the new 
problems which our empirical study of the 
Christian ideas, and our metaphysical theory of 
interpretation, have presented for our scrutiny. 

With this, then, as the end now in view, let 
me try to tell you what attitude of will, what 
practical bearing towards the universe, what 
resolution, what plan of life, should charac- 
terize, in my opinion, any one who undertakes 
to view the world in the light of that doctrine 

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concerning the nature and the business of 
interpretation, which, at the last time, I 
sketched. 

This essentially social universe, this com- 
munity which we have now declared to be 
real, and to be, in fact, the sole and supreme 
reality, — i;he Absolute, — what does it call 
upon a reasonable being to do ? What kind 
of salvation does it offer to him ? What in- 
terest does it possess for his will ? If he ac- 
cepts such a view of things, how should he 
bear himself towards the problem of life ? To 
what ideas of his own does such a view offer 
success ? How can he bring such a view into 
closer relations with ordinary human expe- 
rience ? 



James declared that the typical pragmatist 
is a man of an essentially dramatic temper of 
mind. I now have to point out that the be- 
liever in our world of interpretation also 
centres his interests about a genuinely dra- 
matic undertaking. 

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I have already said that the world of in- 
terpretation includes an infinite series of acts 
of interpretation. I have shown, in an earlier 
lecture, that every act of interpretation in- 
volves novelty. The believer in this doctrine 
of signs, the one to whom every problem, every 
antithesis, every expression of mind, every 
tragedy of life, is a sign calhng for interpreta- 
tion, and in whose belief the world contains 
its own interpreter, both contemplates and 
shares in a world drama. But the attitude 
of will which befits one who holds this doc- 
trine of signs can only be rightly understood 
in case we first distinguish three very general 
attitudes of the will with which, in certain of 
their special forms, we have now become well 
.acquainted. Our will is always dramatic in 
its expressions. It passes from deed to deed. 
Its world is a world of sequences and of enter- 
prises. But when it surveys this world, and 
when it summarizes the spirit of its under- 
takings, the will may assume any one of three 
distinct modes of appreciating both itself and 
its realm of actual or of possible deeds. 

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VI 

The first of these modes, the first of the 
attitudes of the will to which I here direct 
your attention, is that to which Schopenhauer 
gave the name, "The Affirmation of the 
Will to Uve/' This phrase of Schopenhauer 
is intended by its author to be extremely 
general, and to apply to active dispositions 
which are exemplified by all sorts and con- 
ditions of men. Whatever the natural man 
seeks, he intends, says Schopenhauer, to live 
if he can. And when the natural man affirms 
this will to live, he may have in mind any 
one of countless different, or even conflict- 
ing, motives and purposes. 

He may be seeking pleasure, wealth, power,, 
praise, material possessions, or manifold spir- 
itual goods. He may call it righteousness or 
food, that he desires. It may be the de- 
struction of his enemies or the prosperity of 
his friends that he has in mind when hie sets 
out towards his goal. He may be of any 
calling that you please. He may be a world- 

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ling or a recluse; a beggar or a king; an 
outcast or the centre of an admiring company. 
In brief, his special purposes may vary as you 
will. The ideas, the "leadings,'' which, in the 
pragmatic sense, he desires to have succeed, 
may vary from man to man and from life to 
life, throughout the whole range of our social 
and individual objects of desire. 

But, in any case, if, in Schopenhauer's 
sense, such a man aflSrms the will to live, he 
essentially desires to be himself, whoever he 
may be, and to win his aims, whatever the 
special aims be to which he commits himself. 
This desire for self-assertion, then, is present 
in all the Protean shapes of the aflSrmation of 
the will to live, and vivifies them. 

While one aflSrms the will to live, he there- 
fore gives himself over to the great game of 
life. As an individual man he has his friends 
and his enemies; his triumphs and defeats; 
his joys and his sorrows of pain and grief. 
But what happens to him does not, in so far, 
touch the heart and core of his will. He may 
shout with triumph, or cry aloud in his woe ; 

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he may pray to his gods for help, or may curse 
his fate in what he calls his despair; but 
withal, he means to continue his pursuit of 
the objects of desire. He may repent of his 
sins; but not of being himself. He may, in 
his hatred of ill-fortune, resort even to sui- 
cide. But such suicide is merely a revolt 
against disaster. It only aflSrms in its own 
passionate way the longing for some life which 
is not indeed the present life of the rebel 
who seeks suicide, but which, in all his con- 
demnation of his own deeds or of his own 
misadventures, he still longs to live, if only 
death and the universe will yet permit him 
to express himself. 

VII 

Schopenhauer usually emphasizes the es- 
sentially selfish nature of this will to live, as 
it inspires the individual man. Yet Schopen- 
hauer fully recognizes that we are all social 
beings, and that the will to live can keep us 
eagerly busy in and with the world of our 
fellows. Only, as Schopenhauer rightly in- 

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terprets this aflSrmation of the will to live, 
the recognition of his fellow-men which the 
victim of this will to live constantly makes, 
is b^Csed, so to speak, upon the natural solip- 
sism of the individual will. 

And here we come to the very root, the 
inmost meaning, of this first of the three 
attitudes of the will which we are here 
considering. 

, One who thus, in Schopenhauer's sense, 
afllrms the will to live, may cheerfully and 
sincerely acknowledge that other men exist, 
and he may be a good member of society. 
But he tends to found this acknowledgment 
of his fellow-man, and of the social will, upon 
what most philosophers regard as an argu- 
ment from analogy. A man may, by reason 
of such analogy, extend the realm to which his 
will to live applies its interests. The early 
and purely natural forms of family loyalty 
and of clan loyalty depend upon such prac- 
tical expansions of the self. But, as we saw 
when we studied the Pauline doctrine of 
original sin, the will to live constantly meets 

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its opponent in the wills of other individuals. 
And then its primal solipsism revives; and 
it hates its fellows. And even when such a 
will recognizes that an organized social* will 
is in some sense a reality, it finds this social 
will either as a foreign fact, or as a mystery. 
; In brief, all the social facts seem to a man 
in whom Schopenhauer's will to live finds its 
natural affirmation, external and in general 
problematic, — known only through analogy 
and doubtfully. I will my own life; and 
observe my own life. My dealings with you 
seem, from this point of view, to be due to 
motives external to this will of mine. 

"Why,'' says Professor James, addressing 
a supposed fellow-man in one of his essays on. 
Radical Empiricism, "Why do I postulate 
yoiu* mind ? Because I see your body acting 
in a certain way. Its gestures, facial move- 
ments, words, and conducit generally are 
'expressive/ so I deem it actuated, as my own 
is, by an inner life like mine. This argu- 
ment from analogy is my reason^ whether an 
instinctive belief rims before it or not. But 

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what is 'your body' here but a percept in 
my field ? It is only as animating that ob- 
ject, my object, that I have any occasion to 
think of you at all/' 

In the form of this familiar argument 
from analogy, — an argument which many 
philosophers indeed regard as expressing our 
principal reason for believing that our neigh- 
bors' minds are realities, — James also puts 
into words an equally familiar aspect of the 
metaphysical view which naturally accom- 
panies this aflSrmation of the will to live. I 
perceive my own inner life, or, at all events, 
my own facts of perception. By analogy I 
extend the world thus primarily known to 
me. Other men are, in this way, hypothetical 
extensions of myself. For the rest, I believe 
in them because, unless I take due account of 
them, they snub or thwart my own will to 
live. My ideas are my own, and it is of the 
essence t>f my life as this individual that I 
want my own ideas to "work." Upon this 
aflSrmation of my will to live depends all the 
truth that I shall ever come to know. 

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Pragmatism, in its recent forms, is indeed 
one of the most eflfective philosophical ex- 
pressions which Schopenhauer's "Will to live'' 
has ever received. Pragmatism is fond of 
insisting upon its cordial and unquestionably 
sincere recognition both of the social world and 
of the real existence of many selves, and of 
countless distinct ideas. 

\ But as a fact, this recognition of the many 
selves, of the real world, and of the infinite 
variety of ways in which different ideas obtain 
now one and now another "working,'' — this 
entire view of truth and of reality, — when 
pragmatism deals with such matters, is 
founded upon the view that (as James loved 
to say) all "workings" are "particular." 
Each idea aims at accomplishing the event 
which, if reached, then and there constitutes 
the truth of that particular idea. Each idea 
therefore expresses and, as far as it can, 
aflSrms its own will to live. Each idea aims at 
its own success. Ideas, like all the other 
facts of James's world, hang together, as 
James was accustomed to say, "by the edges," 

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if indeed they hang together at all. Their 
unities are temporary, accidental, and non- 
essential. The world of truth is thus indeed 
a dramatic world where each idea asserts it- 
self while it can. 

The life of truth is a drama wherein each 
pragmatic "leading,'' each individual expres- 
sion of the will to succeed, "struts and frets 
its hour upon the stage, and then is heard no 
more.'' 

Such is the philosophy wherein Schopen- 
hauer's aflSrmation of the will to live finds its 
most recent, and, on the whole, as I suppose, 
its most efifective expression. 

VIII 

In strong contrast to the affirmation of 
the will to live, Schopenhauer placed that 
attitude which he defined as the resignation, 
— the denial of the will to live. Here we 
have to deal with a tendency too well known 
to all students of the history of the spiritual 
life to need, in this place, extended portrayal, 
and too simple in its fascinating contrast 

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with our natural life to require minute analy- 
sis. This is the attitude of the will which 
Southern Buddhism taught as the sole and 
suflScient way of salvation. In the form of 
saintly resignation the same ideal has re- 
ceived countless Christian expressions. Re- 
peatedly this form of self-denial has been 
supposed to constitute the essence of Christian- 
ity. Repeatedly the expounders and defend- 
ers of the Christian doctrine of life have 
been obliged to insist that the Christian form 
of salvation does not consist in this simple 
abandonment of the will to live. I will not 
here repeat the tale which the greatest work 
of Christianity throughout the ages has so 
freely illustrated. Resignation alone does not 
save. To abandon his will to live does not 
by itself enable the individual to win the true 
goal of life. Let us, for the moment, simply 
accept this fact. 

But since we are here interested in the 
metaphysical relations of these attitudes of 
the will, let us mention, in passing, that the 
resignation of the will to live is an attitude 

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to which there correspond appropriate forms 
of metaphysical opinion. Here, again, the 
connections are well known, and need not 
here be dwelt upon. It is enough to say that 
whoever abandons the will to live, ceases, of 
course, to be interested in those "workings" 
of ideas which pragmatism regards as bring- 
ing us into empirical and momentary touch 
with the real. To such a resigned will, there 
remain only the cognitive processes of pure 
conception and of pure perception to consider. 
On the whole, in the history of thought those 
for whom salvation consists in the denial of 
the will to live have resorted to the metaphysics 
of pure perception, and have been mystics. 

As has now been repeatedly pointed out by 
his critics, Bergson's philosophy consists of 
two parts, — a pragmatism which he regards 
as always incomplete and imsatisfactory, and 
a mysticism which, as he more fully expresses 
himself, he tends to make more prominent. 
The corresponding attitudes of the will also 
play their part, both in Bergson's cosmology 
and in his metaphysics. On the whole, Berg- 

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son thus far emphasizes the joyous aspect of 
his own philosophy of life. But plainly, in 
his view, the evolutionary process has been 
dominated by the will to live. And the in- 
evitable outcome of such a domination, so 
long as the will to live takes the form which 
Schopenhauer and Bergson ascribe to it, is 
the discovery that such a realm of mere vital 
impulse is vanity, and vexation of spirit. 
Whenever the mysticism of Bergson is fully 
developed, by himself or by his followers, there 
will come to be expressed the corresponding 
attitude of the will. The vital impulse will 
be transformed into resignation; as Berg- 
son's insistence upon free activity has already 
been subordinated to his counsel that we 
should give ourselves over to mere perception. 
When he tells us that the true artist per- 
ceives "for the sake of nothing, for the mere 
pleasure of perceiving,'' we remember 
Schopenhauer's saint, for whom " This our so 
real world, with all its suns and its milky ways," 
became " Nothing." Such, in fact, is the end 
of the mystic. 

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IX 

But there is indeed a third attitude of the 
will. It is not Schopenhauer's attitude of 
the affirmation of the will to live. It is also 
not the other attitude which Schopenhauer 
believed to be the sole and sufficient salva- 
tion of the will. And this third attitude of 
the will possesses its appropriate metaphysics. 

As for what this attitude of the will is, — 
when we consider, not its doctrine of the 
universe, but its doctrine of life, — we are 
already well acquainted with it, because our 
entire discussion of the Christian ideas was 
devoted to making us familiar with its moral 
and its religious meaning. In returning, at 
this point, to the mention of this attitude of 
the will, I do so because we now are ready to 
imderstand the relation between this type of 
will, and the metaphysical doctrine of which 
I believe it to be the fitting accompaniment. 
Whoever has learned to understand the mean- 
ing of this third way in which the will can 
bear itself towards its world, will therefore 

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be better prepared to grasp the foundations 
upon which the metaphysics of interpretation 
rests. The human value of this practical 
attitude does not by itself fully reveal the 
grounds of the technical theory which is here 
in question. But the intimate relations be- 
tween theory and life are nowhere more pro- 
nounced than in this case, where reason and 
sentiment, action and expression, throw light, 
each upon the other, as is hardly anywhere 
else the case. 

The attitude of the will whicli Paul found 
to be saving in its power, just as, to his mind, 
it was also divine in its origin, was the atti- 
tude of Loyalty. Now loyalty, when con- 
sidered from within, and with respect to its 
deepest spirit, is not the affirmation of the 
will to live of which Schopenhauer spoke. 
And loyalty is also not the denial of the will 
to live. It is a positive devotion of the Self 
to its cause, — a devotion as vigorous, as 
self-asserting, as articulate, as strenuous, as 
Paul's life and counsels always remained. 
The apostle himself was no resigned person. 

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His sacrifices for his cause were constant, and 
were eloquently portrayed in his own burning 
words. They included the giving of what- 
ever he possessed. But they never included 
the negation of the will, the plucking out of 
the root of all desire, in which Gotama Buddha 
found salvation. Paul died at his conver- 
sion; but only in order that henceforth the 
life of the spirit should live in him and through 
him. 



Now this third attitude of the will, as we 
found in dealing with the whole Christian 
doctrine of life, has in any case its disposition 
to imagine, and also practically to acknowl- 
edge as real, a spiritual realm, — an universal 
and divine community. Christian theology, 
in its traditional forms, was a natural outcome 
of the effort to define the world wherein the 
loyal will can find both its expression and its 
opportunity. We have not now to consider 
the religious aspect of this third attitude of 
the will. But we are now fully prepared to 

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state its relation to the metaphysical prob- 
lems. All the threads are in our hands. We 
have only to weave them into a single knot. 

As a reasonable being, when once I have 
come to realize the meaning of my dealings 
both with life and with the world, the first 
practical principle, as well as the first theo- 
retical presupposition of my philosophy must 
be this: Whatever my purposes or my 
ideas, — whatever will to live incites me to 
create and to believe, whatever reverses of 
fortune drive me back upon my own poor 
powers, whatever problems baffle me, through 
their complexity and my ignorance, one 
truth stands out clear: Practically I cannot 
be saved alone ; theoretically speaking, I can- 
not find or even define the truth in terms 
of my individual experience, without taking 
account of my relation to the community of 
those who know. This community, then, is 
real whatever is real. And in that com- 
munity my life is interpreted. When viewed 
as if I were alone, I, the individual, am not 
only doomed to failure, but I am lost in folly. 

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The "workings" of my ideas are events whose 
significance I cannot even remotely estimate 
in terms of their momentary existence, or 
in terms of my individual successes. My life 
means nothing, either theoretically or practi- 
cally, unless I am a member of a community. 
I win no success worth having, unless it is 
also the success of the community to which 
I essentially and by virtue of my real relations 
to the whole universe, belong. My deeds are 
not done at all, unless they are indeed done 
for all time, and are irrevocable. The par- 
ticular fortunes upon which James lays so 
much stress are not even particular, unless 
they consist of individual events which either 
occur or do not occur. Each of these real 
events has therefore a being which lasts to 
the end of time, and a value which concerns 
the whole universe. 

Such, I say, is the principle, at once theo- 
retical and practical, upon which my philos- 
ophy must depend. This principle does not 
itself depend upon the momentary success of 
any individual idea. For it is a principle in 

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terms of which we are able to define what- 
ever real Ufe there is, while, unless this prin- 
ciple itself holds true, there is no real Kfe or 
real world in which we can find success. 

XI 

Now this principle is one which, with vari- 
ous dialectical explanations, I have, in other 
essays of my own, repeatedly defended. And, 
as I have said, I have no wish whatever to re- 
peat, in this context, my own previous discus- 
sions. The relation of this essentially social 
attitude of the decisive will to the doctrine of 
the community, leads me to show what this 
general and underlying attitude of the social 
will is, by mentioning, as I pass, and by way 
of illustration, that most famiUar and most 
profoundly metaphysical of the problems of 
common sense, the problem : What reason can 
any one of us give for holding that the mind of 
his neighbor is real at all ? For the attitude 
of will, the postulate, the resolution which any 
one of us takes when he says to his fellow, 
"You are a real being," is precisely that atti- 

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tude which our metaphysical thesis advises us 
to take towards the whole world when it tells 
us to say to the world : "I know that you are 
real, because my life needs and finds its in- 
terpreter. You, O World, are the interpreta- 
tion of my existence/* 

At all events, the case of the bases of our 
ordinary social knowledge is a test case de- 
ciding the whole attitude towards Kfe and 
towards truth and towards the universe. 

xn 

For James, as you have already seen, my 
only and, to his mind, my suflBcient ground 
for beUeving in my fellow's existence, for 
^^postulating your mind," is an argument 
from analogy, — an extension of the inner 
Kfe of my already known self, with its feehngs, 
with its will, and with the workings of its 
ideas, into the perceived body of my neighbor, 
whose movements and expressions resemble 
mine. 

Now, as a fact, the most important part 
of my knowledge about myself is based upon 

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knowledge that I have derived from the com- 
munity to which I belong. In particular, 
my knowledge about the socially expressive 
movements of my own organism is largely 
derived from what I learn through the testi- 
mony of my fellow-men. Therefore I cannot 
use the analogy of our externally expressive 
movements as my principal reason for be- 
Keving in the reaUty of the inner life of my 
fellow-man, because I am very largely imable 
to perceive my own expressive movements in 
as direct a way as is that in which I perceive 
the organism and the movements of my 
fellow-man. 

For instance, the appearance of my fellow's 
countenance is to' me a sign of his mind. And 
signs of this type stand in the front rank of 
those facts of perception upon which my 
customary interpretation of his mind depends 
whenever he and I are in each other's presence. 

But is my main argument for the thesis 
that my fellow's face expresses his mind, — 
and that his facial expressions are evidences 
of the existence of his mind, — an argimient 

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from analogy ? Do I reason thus : " When my 
face looks thus, I feel so and so; therefore, 
since my neighbor's face looks thus, it is fair 
to reason by analogy that he feels so and so ? '' 
How utterly foreign to our social common 
sense would be this particular argument from 
analogy ! 

For, as a fact, I know very httle about my 
own facial expressions, except what I learn, 
if indeed I learn it at all, through accepting as 
true certain reports of my neighbors regard- 
ing these facial expressions. I can indeed 
indirectly perceive my own face by looking 
in the mirror. But I thus learn hardly any- 
thing of importance to me about what my 
own changes of facial expression are. I have 
spent years of my life interpreting the signs 
which I read as I look at the countenances of 
other men. But when have I said to my 
neighbor: "Come, let us look in the glass 
together, so that, observing how my facial 
expression varies with my state of mind, I can 
learn to judge by the analogy of my own coun- 
tenance what your changes of countenance 

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probably mean ? '' To "postulate your mind " 
upon such a basis would be a form of solemn 
fooling. 

The case is trivial, but typical for the way 
in which we interpret the usual signs of his 
mind which our neighbor gives to us. In 
large part, since I never normally view my 
own organism in a perspective which is closely 
analogous to the perspective in which I con- 
stantly perceive the body and the movements 
of my, fellow-man. My most important knowl- 
edge about my own expressive movements 
comes to me at second hand. I learn how my 
own movements appear through the report 
of others. 

I Thus, then, I first believe that my fellow 
has a mind. As part or as consequence of 
this belief, I accept his testimony about how 
the movements of my organism seem when 
they are perceived by another man. As a 
result, I learn indirectly, and by the cir- 
cuitous route that, so to speak, passes through 
my neighbor's mind, precisely the most sig- 
nificant of the analogies between my neigh- 

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bor's expressive movements and my own. 
Yet these analogies are supposed, by James, 
and by the prevalent theory, to constitute 
my main evidence that my neighbor has a 
mind at all ! 

It would be hard to mention an instance of 
a more artificial doctrine than this prevail- 
ing opinion of philosophers regarding the 
bases of our social consciousness. Yet this 
is the very doctrine which James advances 
as a typical illustration of his own radical 
empiricism. What I, as an individual, never 
experience at all, — namely, precisely those 
analogies between my own doings and my 
neighbor's outward behavior which are socially 
most important, are named by James as 
furnishing my sole reason for ** postulating 
your mind.'' 

xni 

Why, then, do I indeed postulate your 
mind? 

I postulate your mind, first, because, when 
you address me, by word or by gesture, you 

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arouse in me ideas which, by virtue of their 
contrast with my ideas, and by virtue of 
their novelty and their unexpectedness, I 
know to be not any ideas of my own. 

Hereupon I first try, however I can, to 
interpret these ideas which are not mine. 
In case you are in fact the source of these 
new ideas of mine, I fail to find any success 
in my efforts to interpret these ideas as past 
ideas of my own which I had forgotten, or 
as inventions of my own, or as otherwise 
belonging to the internal realm which I have 
already learned to interpret as the realm of 
the self. 

Hereupon I make one hypothesis. It is, 
in its substance, the fundamental hypothesis 
of all our social life. It is the hypothesis that 
these new ideas which your words and deeds 
have suggested to me actually possess an 
interpretation. They have an interpreter. 
They are interpreted. This hypothesis simply 
means that there exists some idea or train of 
ideas, which, if it were now present within 
my own train of consciousness, would inter- 

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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

pret what I now cannot interpret. This in- 
terpreter would mediate between the new ideas 
which your deeds have suggested to me, and 
the trains of ideas which I already call my 
own. That is, this interpreter, if he fully did 
his work, would compare all these ideas, and 
would both observe and express wherein lay 
their contrast and its meaning. My hypoth- 
esis is that such aii interpreter of the novel 
ideas which your expressive acts have aroused 
in me, actually exists. 

"^ Now such an interpreter, mediating be- 
tween two contrasting ideas or sets of ideas, 
and making clear their contrasts, their mean- 
ing, and their mutual relations, would be, by 
hypothesis, a mind. It would not be my own 
present mind ; for by myself alone I actually 
fail to interpret the ideas which your deeds 
have aroused in me. And these ideas which 
your doings have aroused in me are simply 
not my own. Now this hypothetical in- 
terpreter is what I mean by your self, precisely 
in so far as I suppose you to be now communi- 
cating your own ideas to me. You are the 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

real interpreter of the ideas which your deeds 
suggest to me. That is what I mean by your 
existence as an " eject." 

The reason, then, for "postulating your 
mind" is that the ideas which your words and 
movements have aroused within me are not 
my own ideas, and cannot be interpreted in 
terms of my own ideas, while I actually hold, 
as the fundamental hypothesis of my social 
consciousness, that all contrasts of ideas have 
a real interpretation and are interpreted. 

XIV 

i Our illustration has carried us at once 
into the mazes of our problematic social life 
together. But the case is a typical case. 
We have but to view it in its principle, and 
it shows what attitude of the will is the only 
decisive one in deahng with the interpretation 
of experience. 

You are not a mere extension by analogy 
of my own will to Kve. I do not, for the sake 
merely of such analogy, vivify your perceived 
organism. You are an example of the jyrinciple 

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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

whose active recognition lies at the basis of my 
only reasonable view of the universe. As I treat 
you, so ought I to deal toith the universe. As I 
interpret the universe, so, too, in principle, should 
I interpret you. 

We have no ground whatever for beheving 
that there is any real world except the ground 
furnished by our experience, and by the fact 
that, in addition to our perceptions and our 
conceptions, we have problems upon our 
hands which need interpretation. Our funda- 
mental postulate is : The world is the interpre- 
tation of the problems which it presents. If you 
deny this principle, you do so only by present- 
ing, as Bergson does, some other interpretation 
as the true one. But thus you simply reaffirm 
the principle that the world has an interpreter. 

Using this principle, in your ordinary social 
life, you postulate your fellow-man as the in- 
terpreter of the ideas which he awakens in 
your mind, and which are not your own ideas. 
The same principle, applied to oiu* social ex- 
perience of the physical world, determines our 
ordinary interpretations of nature and guides 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

our natural science. For, as we have seen, the 
physical world is an object known to the com- 
munity, and through interpretation. The 
same principle, applied to our memories and 
to our expectations, gives us our view of the 
world of time, with all its infinite wealth of 
successive acts of interpretation. 

In all these special instances, the apphca- 
tion of this principle defines for us some form 
or grade of community, and teaches us wherein 
Kes the true nature, the form, the real unity, 
and the essential Ufe of this community. 

Our Doctrine of Signs extends to the whole 
world the same fundamental principle. The 
World is the Commimity . The world contains 
its own interpreter. Its processes are infinite 
in their temporal varieties. But their in- 
terpreter, the spirit of this universal com- 
munity, — never absorbing varieties or per- 
mitting them to blend, — compares and, 
through a real Kfe, interprets them all. 

The attitude of will which this principle 
expresses, is neither that of the aflBrmation 
nor that of the denial of what Schopenhauer 

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THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNS 

meant by the will to live. It is the atti- 
tude which first expresses itself by saying 
*' Alone I am lost, and am worse than nothing. 
I need a counsellor, I need my community. 
Interpret me. Let me join in this interpre- 
tation. Let there be the community. This 
alone is Ufe. This alone is salvation. This 
alone is real.^^ This is at once an attitude of 
the will and an assertion whose denial refutes 
itself. For if there is no interpreter, there is 
no interpretation. And if there is no inter- 
pretation, there is no world whatever. 

In its daily form as the principle of our 
social common sense, this attitude of the will 
inspires whatever is reasonable about our 
worldly business and our scientific inquiry. 
For all such business and inquiry are in and 
for and of the community, or else are vanity. 

In its highest form, this attitude of the will 
was the one which Paul knew as Charity, and 
as the Ufe in and through the spirit of the 
Community. 

Such, then, is the relation of the Christian 
will to the real world. 

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THE HISTOBICAL AND THE ESSENTIAL 



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1 



LECTURE XV 

THE HISTORICAL AND THE ESSENTIAL 
N the fourth lecture of his book on 



Christologies, Ancient and Modern/' 
Professor Sanday says, of the development 
which was introduced into theology by Ritschl : 
"'There is a great deal that is very wholesome 
in the movement out of which this development 
has sprung. It arose from, and has been sus- 
tained by, a great desire to look at the reaUty of 
things, to put aside conventions and to get into 
close and living contact with things as they are. 
It came to be seen that ... as a complete phi- 
losophy of reUgion HegeUanism was too purely 
intellectual. It did not correspond to the true 
nature of religion, in which the emotions and the 
will are involved quite as much as the intellect.'' 



The criticism of the religious philosophy of 
Hegel which these words summarily indicate, 
is further expressed by what Professor Sanday 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

says about the famous words in which David 
Frederic Strauss stated his own version of 
the Hegelian position regarding the person 
and work of Christ. 

Strauss, as you remember, said: "As con- 
ceived of in an individual, a God-man, the 
attributes and functions which the Church 
doctrine ascribes to Christ contradict each 
other; in the idea of the Race they agree 
together. Humanity is the union of the two 
natures, God become man, the Infinite Spirit 
externalized as finite, and the finite spirit 
remembering its infinitude.^' 

Professor Sanday makes the conmient: 
"Strauss was driven to this substitution of 
the idea for the Person by his assumption 
that the idea never reaches its full expression 
in the individual, but only in the race. It is, 
however, not at all surprising that, after re- 
ducing Christianity to this shadowy semblance 
of itself, he should end by throwing it over 
altogether." 

The criticism of HegeFs version of Chris- 
tianity which Professor H. R. Mackintosh, 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

of Edinburgh, expreisses in the course of the 
historical section of his recent book on "The 
Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ/' is 
longer and is also more expUcitly hostile to 
HegeFs whole reUgious philosophy than are 
the few words which I have just cited from 
Professor Sanday. Professor Sanday — I 
ought to add — does not intend his own re- 
mark as any complete characterization of the 
position either of Hegel or of Strauss. 

Professor Mackintosh says, concerning 
the HegeUan view: "Christianity receives" 
(according to Hegel) "absolute rank, but at 
the cost of its tie with history. -For only the 
world-process as a whole, and no single point 
or person in it, can be the true manifestation 
of the Absolute.'' . . . "Thus, when Hegel 
has waved his wand, and uttered his dialectical 
and all-decisive formula, a change comes over 
the spirit of the believer's dream ; everything 
appears to be as Christian as before, yet 
instinctively we are aware that nothing spe- 
cifically Christian is left." . . . "When once 
the Gospel has been severed from a historic 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

person, and identified with a complex of 
metaphysical ideas, what it ought to be called 
is scarcely worth discussion; that it is no 
longer Christianity, is clear." . . . "Sooner 
or later, then, some one was bound to speak 
out, and expose the hollow and precarious 
alliance which had been proclaimed between 
the Christian faith and dialectic pantheism. 
The word which broke the spell came from 
Strauss.'* 

Professor Mackintosh hereupon quotes from 
Strauss the further statement: "The Idea 
loves not to pour all its fulness into one ex- 
ample, in jealousy towards all the rest. Only 
the race answers to the Idea''; and adds, in a 
foot-note, "This formula has made a pro- 
found impression." And Professor Mackin- 
tosh continues : "It ought to be clear, by this 
time, that the proposed identification of the 
Christian faith with the ontological theory 
that God and man are one, — God the essence 
of man, man the actuality of God, — is an 
utterly hopeless enterprise, which the scien- 
tific historian cannot take seriously. . . ." 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

"The truth is that the very idea of religion as 
consisting in personal fellowship with God, 
had faded from Strauss's mind, and with its 
disappearance went also in large measure the 
power to sympathize with, or appreciate, 
essential Christian piety as it existed from 
the first. . . /' "In general, it may be con- 
cluded that Hegelianism tended to commit a 
grave oflFence against history by construing 
Christianity as a system of ideas which is 
intelligible and eflFective apart from Jesus 
Christ." 

n 

I have quoted these two expressions of 
opinion, the one from Professor Sanday, and 
the other from Professor Mackintosh, in 
order to introduce the issue which in this lec- 
ture I have yet to face. I shall try to meet 
that issue as directly as I can. 

We have not, in this discussion, first ap- 
proached our problem of Christianity from the 
side of speculation, and then attempted to 
find a way of identifying a group of abstract 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

ontological conceptions with those religious 
convictions which have been most prominent 
in the history of the Christian religion. On 
the contrary, my sketch- of the Christian doc- 
trine of life, and of the ideas which seem to me 
to be essential to that doctrine, made use of 
facts which belong to our common ethical and 
religious experience. We began with these 
facts. The metaphysical problems were kept 
in reserve until this more empirical part of 
the work was completed. 

My hearer, if he kindly takes any interest 
in the present account of our problem, may 
indeed question whether those Christian ideas 
which I selected for discussion were rightly 
chosen. He may well insist that, in emphasiz- 
ing certain aspects of Christianity, I have 
either ignored or slighted other aspects to 
which tradition has assigned the highest 
prominence. Such a criticism is, in part, 
obviously warranted. I have deliberately 
ignored much that tradition regards as the 
head of the comer. My hearer has a right 
to ask how my estimate of the essence of 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

Christianity stands related to the historical 
faith ; and he may think, if that seems to him 
just, that my views have involved "an utterly 
hopeless enterprise, which the scientific his- 
torian cannot take seriously/' I cheerfully 
accept the risk of siich a judgment upon my 
study of our problem of Christianity. 

But I do not believe that the foregoing 
lectures can justly be accused of attempting 
to "identify the Gospel" with any Tnere 
"complex of metaphysical ideas/' 

Such Christian ideas as I have tried to 
interpret, I certainly did not invent. They 
found me. I did not devise them. They 
have led us, indeed, into the presence of the 
most intricate metaphysical problems; but 
no metaphysician ever discovered them. Nor 
are they merely a "complex of metaphys- 
ical ideas." They come to us from human 
life, from the life both of the Christian Church 
itself, and of those communities, secular or 
religous, which the noblest forms of loyalty 
have informed, and have redeemed, precisely 
in so far as men have yet learned to live the 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

life of the universal brotherhood. For us 
the metaphysical meaning of these ideas has 
occupied, in our discussion, the second place. 
Now I am indeed far from supposing that my 
fragmentary arguments and illustrations have 
exhausted the meaning of those Christian ideas 
which I have selected for discussion. I have 
been trying to tell what I see, and no more. 
Whoever finds in the Christian gospel meanings 
which tradition has emphasized, and which I 
have ignored, is welcome to put me in my place 
by whatever authority or reason he is able to 
employ. And since I am neither apologist, nor 
assailant, but am only, with the aid of my 
"broken light,'' an interpreter, I can feel no 
disappointment with my critic, and can find no 
painful defeat in the exposure of my inadequacy 
as an expounder of historical Christianity. 

m 

Scholarly opinion has, in recent decades, 
undergone many disappointing changes re- 
lating to the history of Christian origins. 
The goal of scientific agreement, both regard- 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

ing the founder of Christianity, and regarding 
the life and history of the Christian Church 
in the apostolic age, is very remote. And I 
have no right to an opinion about problems 
of historical criticism. 

Hence I have constantly tried, in these 
discussions, to avoid hazarding any personal 
impressions of mine about what actmally 
took place on earth at the moment when the 
Christian religion originated. That there were 
the visions of the risen Lord, we know. I 
have no theory regarding how they originated. 
I do not know to what they were due. We 
are sure that what was called the presence 
of the Spirit in the Church displayed itself in 
the ways which Paul describes ; for the writer 
of the greatest of the words in the Pauline 
epistles spoke to those to whom these experi- 
ences were present facts. The picture of the 
typical Pauline Church, and its faith, as the 
epistles present this picture, bears witness to 
its own essential human meaning. Further- 
more, we possess that body of sayings and of 
parables which early tradition attributed to 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

the founder. I am disposed to read these say- 
ings as simple-mindedly as I can. They do not 
appear to me to constitute an expression of the 
whole Christian doctrine of life. They seem 
not to be intended as such a complete expres- 
sion. I have tried to indicate some few ways 
in which these teachings, attributed to the 
founder, are most obviously related to the subse- 
quent development of the main Christian ideas. 
The founder's life I must leave those to portray 
who have a right to judge the documents. 

It will be remembered that I in no wise 
imagine, and have nowhere suggested, that 
Paul, in any just sense, was the real founder 
of Christianity. The Christian community 
into which Paul entered, and whose life he, as 
convert, so vastly furthered, this — I have 
said — this, together with its spirit, is the 
true founder of Christianity. 

Such is the meagre foundation of historical 
fact by means of which I have ventured to 
justify the view regarding the Christian ideas 
which I have now laid before you. It is only 
my comment upon these ideas which has 

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HI.STORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

brought us into the region where, as a student 
of philosophy, I have some right to form and 
to express an opinion. In stating this opin- 
ion, I have of course been obliged to inter- 
pret some of those larger historical connections 
which even the layman in all matters of his- 
torical scholarship has a right, I believe, to 
regard as topics of general knowledge. 

The thesis that the religious experience of 
the earliest Christian community, and in 
particular of the Pauline churches, lies, as a 
deeper motive, at the basis of the whole de- 
velopment and dogmatic formulation of the 
doctrine of the person jof Christ, is not a 
new thesis. But in the form in which I have 
stated it, this assertion gets its most impor- 
tant meaning, in my own mind, through an 
interpretation of the nature of communities. 
This interpretation, as you now know, has an 
aspect which I have formulated in terms of 
human experience. It has also its technically 
metaphysical aspect. To insist upon this 
view of the nature of the community, and to 
develop the consequences that follow upon 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHEISTIA^ITY 

such a view, these enterprises have constituted 
the novelty, if there be any novelty, in my 
study of the essence of Christianity. These 
matters, as I believe, have not always been 
seen in the right perspective. I have done 
what I could to make them plain. 

Now that my case has been stated, any one 
who holds opinions analogous to those of 
Professor H. R. Mackintosh might still urge 
upon me this question: "Is the fragment 
of traditional Christian doctrine which, in 
your own way, you interpret and defend, 
worthy to be called a religion at all? And 
if it is a religion, is Jthis religion Christian ? '' 

A plain question needs a plain answer. I 
feel a great indifference to the use of names in 
such regions. I am anxious to see the rela- 
tions of the things that are named. So long 
as only technical theological formulas are in 
question, I do not in the least care whether 
this or that theologian calls me a Christian or 
not. But let me attempt one more mode of 
making clear the historical rights of my whole 
account of the essence of Christianity. 

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IV 

One of the best ways of understanding our 
own religious ideas is to compare them, when 
we can, with those of some representative and 
highly trained Oriental mind. When inti- 
mate and practical religious interests are in 
question, such comparison is most effectively 
made through conversation with an Oriental 
friend, face to face. For a man speaks better 
than a book. Many of us will recall opportu- 
nities for personal meetings with men trained 
in civilizations remote from our own, as 
amongst the most instructive of our glimpses 
of what our own religion means to our- 
selves. [The faith of our childhood, the reli- >< 
gion of our social order^ becomes for the first 
time clear to our consciousness when we try, 
at a moment of chance intimacy, to convey 
its deeper import to a mind that has been a 
total stranger to our own. 

Now just as mutual remoteness of our 
present lives, when we are contemporaries one 
of another, sometimes helps an Oriental com- 

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panion and myself to understand each his own 
faith better when we take counsel together, — 
even so the attainment of a new understand- 
ing of my faith might be accomplished for me, 
as one may imagine, if I were permitted to 
converse with fellow-men belonging, not only 
to a distant civilization, but also to a distant 
century. How precious for our appreciation, 
not only of antiquity but of ourselves, it would 
be if, escaping from the flood of time, we could 
talk over the essence of Christianity with an 
earnest and thoughtful Christian of the apos- 
tolic age, — not with an apostle, but simply 
with a convert whose personal experience was 
deep and genuine. 

t For my present purpose, the fiction — the 
arbitrary fancy, that such converse across 
the centuries might take place — has one 
very special and limited interest. 

I have stated a thesis concerning the essence 
of Christianity. I should understand that 
thesis, no doubt, better, if indeed I were able 
to converse, in some fictitious realm, with a 
Pauline Christian, — a member of one of the 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

apostolic churches. Let me try, in a few 
words, to make such a fiction momentarily 
intelligible to you. 

It is easy to do this, I think, without tres- 
passing upon any of the sacred places or mem- 
ories of early Christian history. My sole in- 
tent is to furnish a test of the degree to which 
the account of the Christian ideas upon which 
I have insisted does furnish a just view of the 
essence of Christianity. 

We have to compare what I take to be 
essential with what was, at all events in the 
Pauline churches and, for a time, historical 
Christianity. It would be useless, even were 
it possible, for me to make this comparison 
by means of any analysis of the Pauline 
Christology. And I could gain nothing by 
any poor effort of mine to amplify the picture 
which the best known of the epistles have 
left in the minds of all of us. Besides, I desire 
to bring the essential and the historical to- 
gether in our minds, at this point, only for the 
sake of indicating a few very general relations 
of both of them to our modern problems. 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

My fiction must therefore illustrate large 
and abstract principles. It must also sug- 
gest the significance of certain very concrete 
religious experiences. Yet it must do this 
without leading us into any maze of historical 
details. And it must aid me to state my own 
case, and to show you what I suppose to be 
the situation which* the modern mind has to 
face when we estimate the Christian ideas, 
not only in the light of human nature and of 
history, but also in their relation to the most 
abstruse problems of metaphysics. You will 
permit me the freedom of construction which 
is needed for just such a purpose. 



Let us suppose, then, that some highly 
trained Greek, — as learned in philosophy as 
an extended sojourn in Athens, and as the 
training of any of the schools of his time, 
could make him, had been converted by Paul, 
had then for some years been a member of 
whatever Pauline church you please. I have 
in mind no man whose name the Acts, or the 

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Epistles, or the legends of later days, have pre- 
served to us. I am thinking of no famous 
saint, and of no one whose earlier life as a 
philosopher, or whose later devotion as a 
Christian, became a matter of record. As I 
now shall feign, my Greek of the first century 
was one to whom the ancient cultivation had 
made the highest appeal which it could make 
to the deeply religious mind of an ingenious 
child of his age. 

Later, at the time of his conversion, my 
hero heard the message that Paul brought to 
the Galatians, to the Corinthians, — to the 
other best-known Pauline churches. There- 
after, quickened, made a new (creature, our 
convert entered into the life of his own Chris- 
tian community with all the fervor, the love, 
the patience, and the hope which the apostle 
had taught him to know. With the saints 
that were of his company, he rejoiced in the 
gifts of the spirit ; he awaited longingly the 
last great change, and the return of the 
heavenly man whose death had saved him. 
Our hero treasured up and pondered long the 

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apostle's words as various epistles, eagerly 
copied and transmitted from hand to hand 
and from church to church, brought them to 
his knowledge. And all this faith of the 
Church he interpreted with the clearness that 
his previous philosophical training had made 
possible. 

And then, after years enough had passed to 
fill his soul completely with the full vision of 
the salvation of the whole world, — suddenly, 
in the fulness of grace, at the height of his 
own powers of mind, in the midst of his life 
of service, — he fell asleep, — whether at 
some moment of local persecution and of mar- 
tyrdom, in blessed fulfilment of his dearest 
earthly desires, I know not. 

So much my fiction first in outline sketches. 
But hereupon I shall imagine a great change. 
This is not the change which Christian hope, 
in the mind of a member of a Pauline church, 
contemplated. The fictitious change shall 
be this : From centuries of dreamless slumber, 
our Pauline Christian awakes in this modern 
world of ours. He retains, or soon again re- 

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sumes, a perfect memory of all his fonner life, 
with its hopes, its religion, its faith, and its 
opinions regarding things on earth and in 
heaven. He awakes with the full conscious- 
ness of a mature and earnest Pauline Christian, 
but with no faintest ray of knowledge, at the 
moment when he returns to life, concerning 
the entire intervening history of mankind. 
He awakes, moreover, with the full intel- 
lectual equipment, with the ingenuity, and the 
thoughtfulness which his early training as a 
Greek philosopher had bred in him before his 
conversion. 

And the task which some higher power sets 
him in our own day is the task of entering 
our world under conditions which are first to 
train him in the lore of our modern, of our 
secular, of our scientific, of our political, life, 
before his new education shall be allowed to 
bring him into contact with any form, or 
opinion, or tradition of the modern Christian 
Church. 

He is to learn about what Christianity now 
means only after he has first been permitted, 

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and stimulated, to become a highly trained 
product of the worldly cultivation of our age. 
In ancient times, before Paul's message told 
him of the power of grace, he was a philosopher. 
And even so, in the modern world, he has every 
opportunity which scientific study and which 
all forms of secular learning can furnish to 
him, within the time allowed for his new career. 
The result is to reawaken and train his phi- 
losophical interest; and to prepare him to 
master our problems, — except for one great 
limitation. Namely, until this new course 
of preliminary training has been duly com- 
pleted by the powers who have his new life 
in their contitol, he is allowed to learn nothing 
of our problem of Christianity, nothing of 
what dogmas the Councils of the Church ever 
defined, nothing of the past relations between 
Christianity and th^ philosophers, — in brief, 
nothing that lets him know what any form of 
Christianity has been, except the one Christian 
faith under whose spell he Uved of old, be- 
fore the long sleep overtook him. 

We are feigning indeed an artificial course 

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for the new education to which our reawak- 
ened Christian is to be subject. Yet, if you 
choose to aid my halting imagination a little, I 
believe that you can even picture, yes, if 
you choose, can name, the places in our modern 
world where the ingenious and potent teachers, 
to whom charge over our hero has been com- 
mitted, are able to keep their scholar long 
secluded from all knowledge of the Christian 
religion as it now exists, and of Christian 
history as it has run its course since the first 
century passed away. And yet, in such 
places (I leave you to name them), — these 
guides of our returned Greek, through due 
censorship of what he is permitted to read, 
and through a control of the things and of the 
people that he is permitted to see, allow him 
to gratify a vast range of modern curiosity; 
yet keep him, during his period of preparation, 
unaware of the very existence of a post- 
Pauline Christianity, and of our present re- 
ligious situation. He studies long and deeply 
in the various realms of our science and of 
our art. When he meets in the course of these 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

studies with allusions to religion, nobody, 
for a long time, tells him what they mean. 
He becomes absorbed in many of the problems 
of our social order. Nobody explains to him 
that this is a Christian social order. For in 
our day, as we all know, secular learning and 
religious lore live so much apart that he long 
fails to observe that they have any connections. 

But I care riot further to elaborate my 
fiction. Its purpose appears when I add that, 
by the will of the higher powers concerned, 
all this preliminary training of our hero is 
intended to lead to the moment when, still 
clear in his memory both of the Greco-Roman 
world as it was, and of Christianity as the 
apostolic churches had experienced its mean- 
ing, but now brought into close touch with 
the spirit of our own age, and acquainted with 
important results of our own science and art, 
our visitor from a former world is ready for the 
great issue. One more change comes. 

At last, then, he is led face to face with 
Christianity as it is; and he is acquainted 
with the outHnes of its history from his day 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

to our own. Hereupon, indeed, his problem 
of Christianity and our problem stand to- 
gether before him. 

What has he now to say? And, — since 
I am here venturing to feign all this only as a 
means for making clearer my own case, — 
what, in reply to his imagined words, should I, 
if I were permitted to speak to him, have to 
ofifer to him as an answer to his problem ? 

VI 

Our stranger from the past finds that many 
of the religious ideas which once were to him, 
as a Pauline Christian, very dear and — as 
he had supposed — quite essential, now are 
tragically at variance with what he has learned 
since he was awakened. The ascertained 
results of our science, the course of history, 
yes, some of the very ideas which he now 
finds to be most emphasized by the official 
traditions of the existing historical Church, — 
all these seem to be at war ^ith the spirit 
which of old promised to guide the faithful 
into all truth. Our hero has awakened to a 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

sad new world. If I have ventured thus 
tragically to disturb his slumbers, my only 
justification for the seemingly wanton in- 
trusion upon his peace lies in the fact that his 
imaginary case is an allegorical picture of our 
own real case. As he wonders over the 
strange vicissitudes of faith, so ought we to 
wonder. Let us learn some of the lessons 
which he has to learn about the contrast 
between what is historical and what is es- 
sential in Christian faith. 

Before any of his other instruction came to 
him, our guest from the apostolic age began 
his new life by finding, with deep disappoint- 
ment, that the hope of which all the apostles, 
as far as he knew the apostles, made so much, 
has never been fulfilled. The end has never 
come. The Lord has not returned. The 
saints have not triumphed. The bride waits 
in vain for the bridegroom. When Paul said, 
"Behold, brethren, I show you a mystery; 
we shall not all sleep; but we shall all be 
changed," the words seemed to our Pauline 
Christian an expression of an essential part 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

of the faith. Both the resurrection of the 
dead and its early occurrence ; both the mean- 
ing of the resurrection of Christ, and the cer- 
tainty of the nearness of the Lord's return; 
both the hope of immortahty and the assur- 
ance that the Kingdom must quickly come, — 
these matters together had seemed, to the 
apostoHc converts, equally of the very es- 
sence of the faith. Paul had not divided these 
various teachings one from another. If some 
one of old had said to the behevers : "The 
return of Christ is not near. The world is to 
undergo centuries of torment and of division ; 
the Church itself is to be corrupted with power 
and distracted with earthly cares; the gifts of 
the spirit are to be for ages withdrawn ; and no 
sign of heavenly salvation is for all those years 
to appear in the clouds'' ; — then the faithful 
of the former time would have answered such 
a scoffer according to his faithlessness. They 
would have said of his words what Professor 
Mackintosh says of Hegel's waving of the 
dialectical wand; namely, that what the 
scoffer taught was possibly not worthy of any 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

religious name; but was very certainly not 
Christianity. 

Yet the very first discovery of our Greek, 
upon awakening, has been that every dearest 
hope of the eariy Church concerning the near 
deKverance of the suffering worid was a 
delusion; and that certain of the apostle 
Paul's most burning and seemingly inspired 
words were a statement of literally and his- 
torically false predictions. 

Since he became aware of what the Chris- 
tian Church has become since the apostoUc 
age, our Greek has had many reasons to re- 
flect that if he, at least, is to remain a modem 
Christian, he must remember that he is a 
philosopher, and must begin in a new form the 
ancient task of distinguishing between symbol 
and truth, between figure and Kterally accu- 
rate statement, between parable and interpre- 
tation. So far as the end of the world is 
concerned, he has now learned that the Church 
itself, not long after the apostolic age, began 
a course in which all but certain transient and 
enthusiastic sects have persisted until this 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

day. The Church learned, namely, to de- 
fend what it viewed as the essential faith of 
the at)ostles concerning the end of the world, 
only by declaring henceforth that the apostles 
either were not permitted truthfully to grasp 
this essential faith concerning last things, or 
else did not mean what they said, but used 
figures of speech. 

•This has constituted the first lesson concern- 
ing the relations between the historical and.the 
essential which our early Christian saint, now 
transformed into a latter-day philosopher, has 
been forced to learn. 

vn 

Unquestionably, certain teachings about 
the person and work of Christ seemed of old, 
and still seem, to our reawakened Pauhne 
Christian essential to the reUgion which 
Paul taught to him. 

I will not attempt to restate what consti- 
tutes so much of the essence of Christianity : 
"I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel 
which I preached unto you, which also ye 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

received, wherein also ye stand, by which 
also ye are saved, • . • in what words I 
preached unto you, if ye hold it fast, except 
ye believed in vain/' This gospel, our Pau- 
Kne Christian fully remembers. The cross, 
the death, the resurrection, the appearance of 
the risen Lord to the brethren, — these he 
knew to be matters which of old he fully 
accepted, so far as he then understood them. 
Those he beUeved to be both essential and 
historical truths. His present problem is: 
How far, and in what form, is this heart of 
the Pauhne doctrine something which for 
him to-day, in the Kght of what the modern 
world has learned, and in view of what it has 
forgotten, he can still hold to be both true, 
and imchangeable, and adequate ? When he 
reviews the transformations which time has 
wrought, is he still able to say, "Christianity 
is to remain for me what Paul said that it 
was"? "In this I stand; by this I am 
saved'': — can he persist in using these 
words ? 

When he tries to answer this question, our 

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guest has to remember that this modem 
world differs from the world in whose per- 
spective Paul saw this picture of salvation; 
and differs too in many other respects besides 
those which now make PauFs language about 
the early return of the Lord appear to be a 
figure of speech whereby the early saints were 
actually misled. 

In all those features which used most to 
appeal to his imagination, in the days of his 
apostoHc discipleship, our returned Greek 
knows that the Pauhne world has been, both 
for Christian behevers in particular and for 
all typical modern men in general, simply 
transformed. Its heavens have passed away. 
Its very earth has become almost unrecog- 
nizable. All the most vividly interesting of 
those orders of spiritual beings whom Paul 
imagined as the background of his picture of 
salvation, have changed, or have entirely lost 
their meaning, for most of us. The Pauhne 
angels were by no means similar even to those 
incorporeal spiritual beings of whom a later 
orthodox theology discoursed ; and whom the 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

scholastic angelology made a topic of learned 
speculation. Whatever non-human spiritual 
beings there are, nobody, whether orthodox 
mediaeval Christian or modern man of science, 
conceives them as Paul imagined his angels. 
The PauUne demonology, too, has no mean- 
ing at all closely resembhng its apostohc form, 
when even the most conservative scholastic 
theologian deals to-day with the beings still 
called by the same name. 

PauFs whole picture of nature is remote 
from ours. Our reawakened Greek knows 
that all the references to warfare with princi- 
pahties and powers, that all the words of 
Paul regarding the mystery cults as involving 
a partaking of the cup of demons, must be 
interpreted in a profoundly symbohc fashion 
before they can now be understood or ac- 
cepted. In fact, whatever the apostle told 
the churches of old can be retained only in 
case a large use of symbols is made. 

When our PauHne Christian turns to the 
dogmas which the later Church has defined, 
and looks to them as his guides for interpret- 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

ing the gospel wherein he once stood, and by 
which he was to be saved, he finds, in these 
later formulations, very much that seems to 
him almost as strange as Paul himself would 
have seemed if the apostle had been present 
to take part in a scholastic disputation during 
the Middle Ages, 

And as to the central doctrine of the person 
of Christ, it was inseparable, in the mind of 
the PauUne Christian, from the doctrine of 
the living divine spirit present in the Church. 
And that, after all, was what the whole 
story of the Ufe, the death, and the exaltation 
of Christ most meant to the Pauline behever. 
Moreover, as such a behever, our guest had 
known very httle about the person of the 
historical Jesus, except what the story of the 
Divine death, of the resurrection, of the reap- 
pearance, of the exaltation, and of the in- 
dwelUng of Christ, both in the Church, and 
in the behever's heart, had made for our 
guest himself, and for his brethren, in the old 
days, a matter of oommon social religious ex- 
perience, and not of mere narrative. If the 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

Pauline doctrine of the person of Christ was, 
then, indeed essential to the Pauline faith, 
this, its very essence, consisted in its charac- 
ter as a doctrine of the nature and hf e of the 
Church. For the exalted and divine Christ 
was exphcitly known and interpreted by Paul 
as the very hfe of the Church itself. And 
his appearance on earth had its redemptive 
meaning through its power as the work of the 
founder of the beloved community. 

Our returned saint stands, then, in pres- 
ence of a great problem. If all this old faith 
is to mean anything to him to-day, soine vast 
range of Pauline religious ideas must be re- 
garded henceforth as symbols, as parables, 
as shadows cast by the things of some higher 
world, when they pass between the entrance 
of our cave and the realm of unapproachable 
hght beyond. Our Pauhne Christian of the 
twentieth century may well remember the 
vision of the divine which once was his. He 
may fully believe still in its essential truth. 
He may beheve that thisrf:ruth had its his- 
torical basis. But now that he has returned 

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to our world, he must no longer trust indis- 
criminately all the shadowy appearances. He 
must distinguish between those which reveal 
the things of the spiritual world as they are, 
and those which essentially belong to the eyes 
of us who dwell in the cave. Our guest can 
remain, in spirit, a Pauhne Christian, only in 
case he also learns, while jujstly recognizing 
the known world of to-day, how not to confer 
henceforth with flesh and blood, and how to 
discern spiritually the things of the spirit, 
despite the complexities of our modern realm. 
What way will he find to escape from his 
problems, — to be just to the countless novel- 
ties of our present century, and yet not to lose 
the essence of the gospel which Paul preached 
unto him, which he also received, wherein 
also he stood, by which also he was to be 
saved ? 

VIII 

I have no right to mention any one answer 
which our guest must necessarily give to all 
the questions thus forced upon him. He 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

matter what he has already learned or here- 
after learns to sacrifice, both of legend and of 
miracle; both of narrative and of abstractly 
formulated dogma ; both of the literally inter- 
preted words of the apostle concerning angels 
and concerning demons and concerning the 
coming end of the world; and no matter 
what, in due time, he has to sacrifice of the 
literally interpreted records of the gospel 
history, — through all this he will remain 
true, — not necessarily to all that, as Pauline 
Christian, he once held, or even thus far holds, 
to be essential. He will, however, remain 
true to what, as a fact, was the very heart of 
all the hearts of the faithful, both in the 
Pauline churches and in all the subsequent 
ages of Christian development. 

The one condition of such holding fast by 
the deepest spirit of all the Christian ages 
is, I repeat, that he should still be able to say : 
The redeeming divine spirit that saves man 
dwells in the Church. So much our guest 
said when he was a saint of old. His problem 
of Christianity is now simply the problem 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

whether he can say this to-day. His prob- 
lem for the future is the problem whether he 
can continue to say this. 

If, in order to be able to say this, he has to 
learn now, or in the future, to view as symbol, 
as legend, as myth, any accepted narrative 
that you may mention concerning the person 
of Christ, he will be in genuine touch both 
with the perfectly historical Christianity of 
Paul, and with the deepest meaning of the 
whole of Christian history, so long as he is 
still able to say. The divine spirit dwells 
in the Church, and thereby redeems mankind. 
So long as, for him, the Christ whom Paul 
preached is known, as he was to Paul, not 
mainly after the flesh, but after the Spirit, 
our returned Pauline Christian will deal with 
literal truth, precisely in so far as the divine 
spirit does dwell in the Church. And our 
guest will never lose touch with genuine his- 
torical Christianity, precisely so long as he, 
who learned this teaching, as Paul learned it, 
from the Church itself, holds it as the doctrine 
wherein is expressed whatever is most vital 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

in Christianity, and whatever has always 
been most at the heart of the influence of 
Christianity upon civilization, 

IX 

Hereupon you may ask : "But what church 
shall our Pauline Christian accept as the 
true Christian Church?'' The answer is 
simple. I have indicated that answer in the 
first part of our lectures. 

Our guest will certainly not take a very 
profound interest in whatever has divided 
the later Christian world into great or into 
little mutually exclusive partitions. The 
oflScial aspects of the post-Pauline church will 
not attract his most eager interest. Still 
less will he feel much concerned with the 
endless ebb and flow of the more petty secta- 
rian strifes. His church, then, will be neither 
the oflScial church nor the sect. Those efforts 
which ignore the larger human hopes and 
the universal mission of the apostolic Church, 
— those efforts which exhaust themselves in 
barren imitations of the enthusiastic accidents 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

divine spirit dwelling in the living Church 
redeems mankind. Therefore, his test of the 
Church will simply be this, that, in so far as 
it is indeed the Church, it actually unifies all 
mankind and makes them one in the divine 
spirit. All else in Paul's teaching our guest 
may come to regard as symbol, or as legend. 
This he must hold to be literally true, or else 
he must lose the essence of his faith. The 
Church, however, must mean the company of 
all mankind, in so far as mankind actually win 
the genuine and redeeming life in brotherhood, 
in loyalty, and in the beloved community. 

Our guest from the far-off first century has 
learned that the very power of the early Church 
was inseparable from its erroneous belief 
that the world was about to end. For only 
through this belief was it able to become sure 
that, through God's power, its intimate little 
companies, when they loved so well their 
life of the spirit, were witnessing, or were 
about to witness, the salvation of all mankind. 

Now just as the Pauline churches were 
able to win truth even through the heart of 

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THE PROBLEM OP CHRISTIANITY 

their error, -^ even so, for our Pauline Chris- 
tian, whatever errors have still to be aban- 
doned, and whatever symbols have to be 
translated into new speech, the tf ue Church is 
represented on earth by whatever body of 
men are most faithful, according to their 
lights, to the cause of the imity of all man- 
kind. Therefore no sect, no detached indi- 
vidual, and no official organization can con- 
stitute the true Church, except in so far as 
such body or individual shall be found full of 
the spirit and actually furthering the advent 
of the imiversal community. Yet, for our 
Pauline Christian, if he can indeed hold fast 
his early faith, the Church will be a reality, just 
as, to his mind, it was already real in the little 
Pauline communities, and just as it is now real 
wherever two or three are gathered together 
in the name of the genuinely divine spirit. 
[ All this, I say, our Pauline Christian can 
regard as in essence the faith of the apostles. 
If despite all changes he still can hold that so 
much of their faith was literally true, then 
nobody need dictate to him what he shall 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

further hold regarding the person or regarding 
the work of Christ. Christ was for Paul the 
indwelling Spirit of the community, whose 
personal history was, for him, an historical 
reality, spiritually interpreted, just as the 
coming judgment was a near future historical 
event, and was also to be historically inter- 
preted. Our reawakened Pauline Christian 
will remain true to his original faith so long 
as he can retain its spiritual interpretation. 
He will also remain true to a genuinely his- 
torical Christianity, so long as he holds fast 
by his Pauline faith. And this essential faith 
in the divine presence of the spirit in the 
Church he can retain, whatever be his view as 
to the literal correctness of the reports of the 
coming judgment, and whatever he comes to 
hold, as to the correctness of this or of that 
accoimt of the person of Christ. 

X 

Herewith I come to the one word which I 
should wish to offer to our guest were I per- 
mitted to present to him the doctrine of the 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

community which, in this second portion of 
our discussion, I have attempted in outline 
to expound and to defend. 

The final task of interpretation which I 
thus assume is determined, for me, both by 
the general plan of our whole inquiry, and by 
the feigned situation of our Pauline Christian. 
His case, as I have stated it, is a dream of 
my own. But in truth his fancied case is 
our real case. He is our genuine modern 
man. He is the child of the whole historical 
process of humanity. His is the education 
of the human race. Modern civiKzation, 
with all its problems and its tragedies, is, in 
the very loftiest of its hopes, in the most 
precious .of its spiritual possessions, in the 
heart of its deepest faith, a product, — yes, 
if you will, despite its endless crimes, — a 
disciple and a convert of the divine spirit 
that for a while manifested itself in the Pauline 
churches. 

I say this in no partisan spirit, and not in 
the defence or in the praise of any sect, or of 
any one Christian church, nor even for the 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

sake of extolKng the work which the whole 
Christian labor of the centuries has accom- 
pKshed. The Christian churches and nations 
of mankind have done as yet but the very 
least fragment of what it was their task to 
accompKsh; namely, to bring the Beloved 
Community into existence, or to bring the 
Kingdom of Heaven to earth. But, in all 
their weakness, their blindness, their strifes, 
the Christian churches and nations have had 
this to their spiritual profit; namely, that to 
them has been committed the greatest task 
of the ages ; and they have been more or less 
clearly aware of the fact. So far as they have 
been thus aware, they have gradually grown 
in the practice and in the love of the art of 
brotherhood. They have also tended towards 
the organization, still so remote, in which the 
ideal of the Church is yet to find its expression, 
if indeed humanity ever succeeds in its task 
at any time. Hence, indeed, our Christian 
civiKzation, precisely in so far as it has thus 
succeeded, has expressed the power of pre- 
cisely that spirit which manifested itself 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

of things. Is the whole real world the expres- 
sion of one divine process ? And is this pro- 
cess the process of the Spirit ? 

XI 

Our guest is a philosopher. As such I 
address him. In his case there is no fear lest 
I should arouse false hopes of merely verbal 
agreements. He has been too much and too 
often disillusioned to be likely to mistake my 
own use of symbols for a careless or an unjust 
desire to arouse false hopes. He knows that 
I have no legends to defend from critical 
attacks. He knows that the world of which 
I speak is one to which only one perfectly 
determinate portion of the PauKne phrase- 
ology applies. I have already said what that 
portion is. I now have only to summarize 
that word. 

Addressing our guest, I should sum up the 
result of our metaphysical inquiry thus: 
The world is the process of the spirit. An 
endless time-sequence of events is controlled, 
according to this account, by motives which, 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

endless in their whole course, interpret the 
past to the future. These motives express 
themselves in an evolution wherein to every 
problem corresponds, in the course of the end- 
less ages, its solution, to every antithesis its 
resolution, to every estrangement its recon- 
ciliation, to every tragedy the atoning triumph 
which interprets its evil. That this, on the 
whole, is the character of the world-process, our 
argument has insisted. But how this reconcil- 
iation takes place, we have not attempted to 
know. t-Conceming the details of the world of 
^ time, we can learn only by historical experience.^ 
But, this, — such is my thesis, — this is 
the world of interpretation whose outlines, in 
the foregoing, I have been attempting, very 
dimly, to portray. \^This world is throughout 
essentially social, as is also our own human 
world. It is essentially historical, as is any 
^ world involving a time-process. It is essen- 
tially teleological, as is every world wherein we 
can speak, as, according to our philosophy of 
interpretation, we can justly speak, of a process 
involving true development.^ 



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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

Now of this world as a whole, our sketch has 
indeed attempted to suggest only the barest 
outlines. The principal feature which, in 
these lectures, I have been able to portray, 
is that this world has the structure of a com- 
munity. 

But hereupon there remains one further 
and centrally important feature upon which to 
insist. This endless order of time stands in 
contrast to an ideal goal, which the world 
endlessly pursues with its sequence of events, 
but never reaches at any one moment of the 
time sequence. The pursuit, the search for 
the goal, the new interpretation which every 
new event requires, — this endless sequence of 
new acts of interpretation, — this constitutes 
the world. This is the order of time. This 
pursuit of the goal, this bondage of the whole 
creation to the pursuit of that which it never 
reaches, — this naturally tragic estrange- 
ment of this world from its goal, — this con- 
stitutes the problem of the universe. 

"Such," so I should say, addressing our 
guest: "Such was your Pauline world. Lost 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

as the deeds which accomplish what is pos- 
sible towards making the world seem to us a 
divine process, are deeds of charity and of 
atonement. These can exist in their true 
form only in the community. In the human 
world you of the Pauline churches knew them 
as the deeds through which the divine spirit 
was manifested. These deeds, as you asserted, 
not the power of flesh and blood, but the 
spirit who founded the Church, and who dwelt 
in it, accomplished. 

^^ Our doctrine of the world as a community, 
of the social life of the universe endlessly re- 
vealing the divine, — never wholly at any one 
time, but in the world's process, expresses in 
the form of the metaphysics of the community 
what you grasped through an intuition of 
faith. 

"But the salvation of the whole world, the 
consciousness that in its wholeness the world 
is and expresses and fulfils the divine plan, and 
is wholly interpreted and reconciled, — this is 
something which is never completed at any 
point of time. Yet this unity of the spirit, 

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HISTORICAL AND ESSENTIAL 

munity, the true interpretation, the divine 
interpreter, the plan of salvation, — these are 
expressed/' 

"This,'' I should say to our guest, "is indeed 
not religion, but metaphysics. You as philoso- 
pher, and as Pauline Christian, well know the 
distinction. But you at least know what 
is vital in Christianity. You know your own 
problem and ours. You then can judge, you 
who are the true heir of all the ages, — the 
true modern man, — whether we have, in all 
this, duly distinguished between the essential 
and the historical, and shown their unity." 

"At all events," so I should finally say, 
"we know that whether the modern man 
calls himself a Christian or not, is a matter 
of names. We know, however, what it is to 
believe in the presence of the spirit in the 
Church. We know that whoever can see his 
way to define and to justify such a behef , may 
indeed not be called a Christian, but has 
solved what is indeed essential about the prob- 
lem of Christianity." 



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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 



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LECTURE XVr 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

TN beginning these lectures I said that I 
should undertake the task neither of the 
apologist nor of the hostile critic of Chris- 
tianity. 

I 

Some of my hearers may have thought 
this statement to be modelled after the word 
of "jesting Pilate/' who asked, "What is 
truth?'' but "stayed not for an answer/^ 
When I added, at the same time, that I should 
also avoid the position, not only of the hos- 
tile, but of the indiflferent critic of Christian- 
ity, the paradox of this initial definition of 
our undertaking may have appeared to be- 
come hopeless. "What?" — so my hearer 
may have inwardly exclaimed, — "neither 
apologist, nor hostile critic, nor yet indif- 
ferent? What manner of philosophy of the 
Christian religion can such a student pro- 
pound ? A Pilate, — but a Pilate who adds 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

now that we come to summarize its results, 
are we not prepared to return to our initial 
statement, and to see why, despite its para- 
dox, it was justified, and has not proved 
fruitless? Nothing is farther from my wish 
than to magnify unduly the extremely modest 
office of the philosophical inquirer. But 
when I now ask, not: "What havfe I, in all 
my weakness as a student of philosophy, 
accomplished in the course of these few lec- 
tures?'' but "What word would an ideally 
trustworthy teacher, if such were accessible 
to us, address to the modern man concerning 
the problem of Christianity?'' I have to 
remember that not merely Pontius Pilate, 
but quite another man, is reported to have said 
something that bears upon this very prob- 
lem. Let my words, so far as they are mine, 
be forgotten. ,But let us remember that 
John the Baptist, according to the gospel 
story, was no apologist for the teaching of 
the Kingdom of Heaven, and was still less 
its hostile critic, and was least of all an in- 
different critic. What the burden of his 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

preaching was, we all know: "The axe is 
laid at the root of the tree. The Kingdom 
of Heaven is at hand/' John did not create 
a new sect. He did not preach a new creed. 
He did not himself undertake to found a new 
religion. He did not defend; he did not 
assail the Kingdom of Heaven. He an- 
nounced that a religion, long needed, was yet 
to come. His references to the early end 
of all things, and to the imminence of the 
final transformation of human affairs, may 
well have been, like all other Apocalyptic 
announcements of those days, only symbols. 
But the deeper meaning that lay beneath his 
teaching was none the less true. I hold 
that this deeper meaning is still true. The 
Kingdom of Heaven is still at hand in pre- 
cisely the sense in which every temporal 
happening is, in its own way, and, according 
to its special significance, a prophecy of the 
triumph of the spirit, and a revelation of the 
everlasting nearness of the insight which 
interprets, and of the victory which over- 
comes the world. 



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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

n 

I^The essential message of Christianity has 
been the word that the sense of life, the 
very being of the time process itself, consists /^ 
in the progressive realization of the Univer- 
sal Commmiity in and through the longings, 
the vicissitudes, the tragedies, and the tri- 
umphs of this process of the temporal worid. ^ 
Now this message has been historically ex- 
pressed through the symbols, through the tra- 
ditions, and through the concrete life of what- 
ever human communities have most fully 
embodied the essential spirit of Christianity. 
We know not in what non-human forms the 
spiritual life may now or hereafter find its 
temporal embodiment. Our metaphysical 
doctrine, dealing, as it does, with universal 
issues, is quite unable to extend our vision to 
any heavenly realm of angelic powers. We 
have undertaken merely to defend a thesis 
regarding the form in which the life of the 
community, whether human or non-human, 
finds its conscious expression. 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

ideal, and can exhaust the meaning of the 
process of the spirit, no one event constitutes 
"the coming of the end," and the true church 
never yet has become visible to men. And 
that is true simply because the meaning of 
the whole of time can never become ade- 
quately visible at any one moment of time. 
Whoever preaches the Kingdom must accept 
this limitation of every finite and temporal 
being. He must not say : Lo here ! and Lo 
there ! Signs and wonders will not be vouch- 
safed to him, or to his hearers, as sufficient 
to present any immediate vision of the divine 
presence. The truth of the word: "Lo, I 
am with you alway, even unto the end of 
the world," will never be merely perceived; 
just as this same truth will never be expres- 
sible in terms of the abstract conceptions 
which James found to be so "sterile." This 
truth is simply the truth of an interpretation. 
What it means is that, for every estrangement 
that appears in the order of time, there some- 
where is to be found, and will be found, the 
reconciling spiritual event; that for every 



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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

wrong there will somewhere appear the cor- 
responding remedy; and that for every 
tragedy and distraction of individual exist- 
ence the universal community will find the 
way — how and when we know not — to 
provide the corresponding unity, the appro- 
priate triumph. We are saved through and 
in the community. There is the victory 
which overcomes the world. There is the 
interpretation which reconciles. There is the 
doctrine which we teach. This, so far as we 
have had time, in these brief lectures, to 
state our case, is our philosophy, and this 
doctrine, as we assert, is in agreement with 
what is vital in Christianity. 

The apologists for Christian tradition gen- 
erally fail to express such a doctrine, because 
they misread the symbols which tradition 
has so richly furnished. The assailants of 
Christianity are generally ignorant of the 
meaning of the ideal of the universal and 
beloved community. Those who are indif- 
ferent to Christianity are generally unaware 
of what salvation through loyalty signifies. 

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SUMMARY AND.CONCLUSION 

Hence it has been necessary for us to refuse 
to take part with any of the parties to the 
traditional controversies. Hereby we have 
been able to interpret, however, what the 
apologists and the critics of Christianity 
equally need to recognize. Therefore I sub- 
mit that our quest has not been fruitless. 

IV 

Our last words must include two final 
attempts to set our case before you for your 
judgment. The first of these attempts will 
be an effort to furnish one more illustration 
of our philosophy. The second attempt will 
endeavor to point out a practical applica- 
tion of our foregoing teaching. 

Let me briefly indicate what each of these 
closing considerations will be. First, let me 
speak of the illustration of our philosophy 
which I here propose to offer. 

I have already said that we cannot, like 
the founders of new religious faiths, point 
to any sign or wonder as the evidence that 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

we have rightly interpreted the divine pro- 
cess of which the worid is the expression. 
Yet, as I leave our argument, in its incomplete 
statement, to produce, if possible, some effect 
upon your future thoughts about these mat- 
ters, I wish to call your attention, — not to a 
further technical proof of our philosophy of 
interpretation, but to a closing exemplifica- 
tion of its main doctrine. This example 
may serve to bring our philosophy, which 
many of you will have found too recondite 
and too speculative, into closer touch with 
certain thoughtful interests which not only 
our own age, but many future ages of humati 
inquiry, are certain to cherish. 

I wish, namely, to indicate that our main 
thesis concerning the World of Interpretation 
is not only in harmony with the spirit which 
guides the researches of the empirical natural 
sciences, but is, in a very striking way, sug- 
gested to us afresh when we ponder the 
meaning which the very existence and the 
successes of the empirical sciences seem to 
imply. In other words, I wish to show you 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

that our theory of the World of Interpreta- 
tion, and our doctrine that the whole process 
of the temporal order is the progressive ex- 
pression of a single spiritual meaning, is — 
not indeed proved — but lighted up, when we 
reconsider for a moment the question : "What 
manner of natural world is this in which the 
actual successes of our inductive sciences are 
possible?'' 

You will understand that what I say in 
this connection is a mere hint, and is not 
intended as a demonstrative argument. Our 
philosophy of interpretation teaches that 
the. whole of time is a manifestation of a 
world-order which contains its own inter- 
preter. But the illustration to which I shall 
call your attention shows us a connection 
between philosophical idealism and natural 
science such as few have ever recognized. 
Once more I have here to express my indebt- 
edness to Charles Peirce. For it is he who 
has repeatedly pointed out that this matter 
to which I shall call your attention has a 
deep meaning, and tends to make probable 

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THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY 

a thesis about the nature of things which we 
shall find to be in close harmony with our 
doctrine of the world as a progressively real- 
ized Community of Interpretation. 

So much for a hint of the first of the two 
matters which these closing words will call 
to your notice. The second matter will 
concern the practical outcome of our quest. 
I have no new faith to preach, and no ambi- 
tion to found either a sect or a party. But it 
is fair to ask yet one question as the last 
issue which we have time to face. If our 
account of the Problem of Christianity is 
true, what ought we to do for the furtherance 
of our common religious interests? With a 
summary formulation of that question, and 
with a very little counsel regarding its answer, 
my lecture, and this course, will end. 



Next, then, let me sketch my closing 
illustration of our philosophy of interpreta- 
tion. Let me show you that there is a har- 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

mony, unexpected and interesting, between 
the view of the universe which the general 
philosophy of these lectures defends, and the 
result to which we are led when we ponder, 
as Charles Peirce has taught us to ponder, 
upon the conditions which make the actual 
successes of our natural sciences possible.* 

Every one knows that the natural sciences 
depend, for their existence, upon inductive 
inquiries. And all of us are aware, in a 
general way, of what is meant by induction. 
When one collects facts of experience and then 
infers, with greater or less probability, that 
some proposition relating to facts not yet 
observed, or relating to the laws of nature, 
is a true proposition, the thinking process 
which one uses is called inductive reasoning. 
The conditions which make a process of rea- 
soning inductive are thus twofold. First, 
inductive reasoning is based upon an experi- 

^ Charles Peirce has repeatedly given expression to the thoughts 
about the nature and conditions of the inductive sciences to which 
I here, in passing, shall refer. A notable expression of opinion 
upon the subject occurs in a brief passage contained in his extremely 
interesting e£l!say entitled "A Neglected Argument for the Being of 
God," published in the Hihbert Journal during 1908. 

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THE PROBLEM OP CHRISTIANITY 

ence of particular facts. That is, inductions 
depend upon observations or experiments. 
Secondly, what one concludes or infers, from 
the observations or experiments in ques- 
tion, follows from these facts not necessarily, 
but with some more or less precisely estimable 
degree of probability. The terms " inductive 
inference'* and "probable inference*' are 
almost precisely equivalent terms.^ If you 
draw from given premises or presuppositions a 
conclusion such that, in case the premise is 
true, the conclusion must be true, the process 
of reasoning which is in question is called 
"necessary inference** or "deductive infer- 
ence** (these two terms being, for our 
present purposes, equivalent). But if , upon 
assuming certain premises to be true, you 
find that they merely make a given conclu- 
sion probable^ the inference which guides you 
to the conclusion is an inductive inference. 

^Objections to an assertion of the precise equivalence of the 
terms "inductive inference" and "probable inference" exist, but 
need not be discussed in the present connection, since they are 
irrelevant to the matter which Charles Peirce*s comment here calls 
to our notice. 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

Examples of such inference may easily 
be mentioned. Thus a life insurance com- 
pany, in assuming new risks, and in comput- 
ing premiums, is guided by mortality tables. 
Such tables summarize, in a statistical fash- 
ion, facts which previous experience has 
furnished regarding the ages at which men 
have died* The insurance actuaries com- 
pute, upon the basis of the tables, the mor- 
talities of men who are yet to be insured. 
The results of the tables and of the com- 
putations are probable inferences to the effect 
that of a certain number of men, who are 
now in normal condition and who are of a 
given age, a certain proportion will die within 
a year, or within ten years, or within some 
other chosen interval of time. Such probable 
inferences are used, by the insurance company, 
in determining the rate at which it is safe 
to insure a given applicant who appears to 
be, upon examination, a "good risk'' for his 
age. Nobody can know when any one indi- 
vidual man will die ; and the insurance com- 
pany draws as few infei»ences as possible 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

when applied to large numbers of insured 
persons, are highly probable. They are never 
certain. 

What the insurance companies do when 
they reason / about taking new risks is an 
example of a method widely used in the 
natural sciences. A collection of facts of 
observation, a statistical study of these facts, 
and a probable inference based upon such 
statistics, — these, in many cases, make up 
a great part of the work of an inductive 
science. 

VI 

But the statistical methods used by the 
insurance companies are not the only methods 
known to natural science. Another sort of 
probable inference is also known, and is, in 
many cases, of much more importance for 
natural science than is the more directly 
statistical method which the insurance com- 
panies use. This other method is known to 
you all. It is the method of forming hy- 
potheses and of testing these hypotheses 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

marize thus: "If the Homeric story of the 
Trojan war was historically well founded, 
and if the ancient traditions about the site 
of the real Troy were also true, and if nothing 
has since occurred to render unrecognizable 
the ruins which were left when Troy was 
burned, — then, in case I dig in just that 
mound, yonder, I shall find the ruins of a 
large city, which once contained palaces 
and treasures, and which will show signs of 
having been burned/' 

Now this hypothesis of Schliemann about 
Troy was, when he formed or reformed his 
conjectures upon the topic, a seemingly very 
unlikely hypothesis. But Schliemann dug, 
and the now well-known ruins came to light. 

Hereupon you will all agree that, from the 
facts of experience which were thus pre- 
sented for further judgment, no important 
conclusion could be said to follow deductively 
and as a necessary condition. And as a fact 
Schliemann is known to have overestimated 
both the probability and the importance of 
the conclusions which he himself drew from 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

antecedently unlikely success as that of 
Schliemann, unless the idea which guided 
Schliemann's excavations had some basis in 
fact ? Nothing was demonstrated by Schlie- 
mann's first discoveries. But a new probability 
had henceforth to be assigned to the hypothesis 
which had led to Schliemann's predictions 
and discoveries, — namely, that some his- 
torical foundation existed for the story of the 
Trojan war. 

VII 

Schliemann's triumph, such as it was, is 
familiar. It furnishes a typical instance of 
the second of the two leading processes of 
inductive reasoning. This second method is 
that of hypothesis and test. Suppose that 
we make some hypothesis A. Hereupon sup- 
pose that we are able to reason, in advance 
of further experience, that if A is true, some 
fact, let us say E, will be observed, in case we 
meet certain conditions of observation or of 
experiment. Then, the more unlikely it is, 
in the light of previous knowledge, that the 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

cess of deductive reasoning, that, if the hy* 
pothesis A is true, some determinate fact of 
experience E will be found under certain 
conditions. The investigator hereupon looks 
for this predicted fact E. If he fails to find 
it, his hypothesis is refuted, and he must 
look for another. But if he finds E where his 
hypothesis had bidden him to look for E, 
then the hypothesis A begins to be rendered 
probable. And the more frequently A is 
verified, and the more unexpected and ante- 
cedently improbable are these verifications, 
the more probable does the hypothesis A 
become. 

The most important and exact results of 
the inductive sciences are reached by methods 
in which the verification of hypotheses plays 
a very large part. Galileo used hypotheses, 
computed what the results would be in case 
the hypotheses were true, and then by fur- 
ther experience verified the hypotheses. So 
did Newton ; so in a very different age, and 
in a very different field, did Darwin. Upon 
the process of inventing hypotheses, of com- 

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THE PROBLEM OP CHRISTIANITY 

puting their consequences, and of then appeal- 
ing to experience to confirm or refute the 
hypotheses, the greatest single advances in 
physical science rest. 

And the principle used in this branch of 
induction may be stated thus: — 

When without any antecedent knowledge 
that the consequences of a given hypothesis 
are true, we find, upon a fair examination of 
the facts, that these consequences are un- 
expectedly verified, then the hypothesis in 
question becomes, not certainly true, but 
more and more probable. 

VIII 

These general remarks about the inductive 
methods used in science may seem to some of 
you to be mere commonplaces. But they 
have been needed to bring us to the point 
where Charles Peirce's remark about the sig- 
nificance of the actual successes of scientific 
method can at length be appreciated. 

If the only methods followed by the natural 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

sciences were the statistical methods of the 
insurance companies; if all the work of 
scientific induction were done, first by making 
collections of facts, such as mortality tables 
^exemplify, and secondly by making probable 
predictions about the future based mainly 
upon the already observed facts, as the insur- 
ance companies issue new policies on the 
fbasis of the already existing tables, then 
indeed the work of the inductive sciences 
would be progressive, but it would not be 
nearly as creative as it actually is. 

In fact, however, the inductive sciences 
owe their greatest advances to their greatest 
inventors of hypotheses, — to men such as 
Galileo or as Darwin. To be sure, when the 
inventors of scientific hypotheses are in ques- 
tion, these inventors must also be not only 
inventors, but also verifiers, and must be 
willing readily to abandon any hypothesis 
whose consequences conflict with experience. 
But since it is the actually successful, while 
far-reaching, hypothesis which adds the most 
new probabilities to science, the art of mak- 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

antecedently probable? If he does this, he 
condemns himself to relative infertility. For 
the antecedently probable hypothesis is pre- 
cisely the hypothesis which lacks any very 
notable novelty. Even if such an hypothesis 
bears the test of experience, it therefore adds 
little to knowledge. Worthless for the pur- 
poses of any more exact natural science until 
it has been duly verified, the hypothesis 
which is to win, in the advancement of science, 
a really great place, must often be, at the 
moment of its first invention, an apparently 
unlikely hypothesis, — a poetical creation, 
warranted as yet by none of the facts thus 
far known, and subject to all the risks which 
attend great human enterprises in any field. 
In such a position was Darwin's hypothesis 
regarding the origin of species through natural 
selection, when first he began to seek for its 
verification. 

This, however, is not all. A highly signif- 
icant scientific hypothesis must not only be 
a sort of poetic creation. There is another 
consideration to be borne in mind. The 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

As a fact, however, the progress of natural 
science, since Galileo began his work, and 
since the new inductive methods were first 
applied,, has been (so Charles Peirce asserts) 
prodigiously faster than it could have been 
had mere chance guided the inventive pro- 
cesses of the greater scientific thinkers. In 
view of these facts, Charles Peirce reasons 
that the actual progress of science, from the 
sixteenth century until now, could not have 
been what it is, had not the human mind been, 
as he says, in some deep way attuned to the 
nature of things. The mind of man must be 
peculiarly fitted to invent new hypotheses 
such that, when tested by experience, they 
bear the test, and turn out to be probably 
true. The question hereupon arises, "To 
what is this aptness of the human mind for 
the invention of important and successful 
scientific hypotheses due?'* 



This question is not easy to answer. Were 
new hypotheses in science framed simply by 

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THE PROBLEM OP CHRISTIANITY 

processes analogous to those which the insur- 
ance companies employ when they take new 
risks, the matter would be different. For 
the insurance companies adapt the existing 
tables of mortahty to their new undertakings, 
or else obtain modified tables gradually, by 
a mere process of collection and arrangement. 
And all the statistical sciences make use of 
this method; and there is, of course, no doubt 
that this method of gradual advance, through 
patient collection of facts, is one of the two 
great sources of scientific progress. 

But the other method, the method of 
inventing new hypotheses which go beyond 
all results thus far obtained, — the method 
which first proposes and then tests these hy- 
potheses, — involves at every stage a venture 
into an unknown sea. Unless some deep- 
lying motive guides the inventor, he will go 
uselessly astray, and will waste his efforts 
upon inventions which prove to be failures. 

In many branches of science such fortunes 
have in fact long barred the way. Consider, 
for instance, the fortunes of modern patho- 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

logical research, up to the present moment, 
in dealing with the problem furnished by the 
existence of cancer. The most patient devo- 
tion to details, the most skilful invention of 
hypotheses, has so far led only to defeat 
regarding some of the most central problems 
of the pathology of cancer. These problems 
may be solved at any moment in the near 
future. But up to this time it seems — 
according to what the leading pathologists 
tell us — as if the human mind had not been 
attuned to the invention of fitting hypothe- 
ses regarding the most fundamental problems 
of the "cancer-research.'' 
[ How different, on the other hand, were the 
fortunes of mechanics from Galileo's time to 
that of Newton. What wonderful scientific 
inventiveness guided the early stages of 
electrical science. How rapidly some por- 
tions of pathological research have advanced. 
And, according to Charles Peirce, in all these 
most successful instances it is the happy 
instinct for inventing the hypotheses which 
has shortened a task that, if left to chance 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

XI 

Now one cannot explain the existence of 
such an aptitude for inventing good hypothe- 
ses by pointing out that the processes of sci- 
ence are simply a further development of that 
gradual adaptation of man to his environment 
which has enabled our race to survive, and 
which has moulded us to our natural con- 
formity to the order of nature. For the apti- 
tude to invent scientific hypotheses is not like 
our power to find our way in the woods, or 
to get our food, or even to create and to 
perpetuate our ordinary social orders. Each 
new scientific hypothesis of high rank is a^ 
new creation which is no mere readapting 
of habits slowly acquired. The conditions 
which enable the creator of the hypothesis 
to invent it never existed before his time. 
Human beings could have continued to exist 
indefinitely had Galileo never appeared. 
Science gets what may be called its "survival 
value" only after its hypotheses have been 
invented and tested. Without science, the 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

rapidly progressive in its invention of suc- 
cessful hypotheses to permit us to regard 
this aptitude as the work of chance. Man's 
gradual adjustment to his natural environ- 
ment may well explain his skill as artisan, 
or as mere collector and arranger of natural 
facts, but cannot explain the origin of his 
power to invent, as often and as wonder- 
fully as he has invented, scientific hypotheses 
about nature which bear the test of ex- 
perience. 

XII 

If, then, you seek for a sign that the uni- 
verse contains its own interpreter, let the very 
existence of the sciences, let the existence 
of the happy inventive power which has 
made their progress possible, furnish you such 
a sign. A being whom nature seems to have 
intended, in the first place, simply to be 
more crafty than the other animals, more 
skilful in war and in hunting, and in the 
arts of living in tribal unities, turns out 
to be so attuned to the whole of nature that, 
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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 
XIII 

The older forms of teleology, often used 
by the theologians of the past, frequently 
missed the place where the empirical illustra- 
tions of the workings of intelligence, in the 
universe, and where the signs of the life of the 
divine spirit are most to be sought. The 
teleology of the future will look for illustrations 
of the divine, and of design, neither in miracles 
nor in the workings of any continuously striv- 
ing "will" or "vital impulse" which from mo- 
ment to moment moulds things so as to meet 
present needs, or to guide present evolution. 

Man, as we have seen, has an aptitude to 
invent hypotheses that, when once duly tested, 
throw light on things as remote in space as 
are the nebulae, as distant in time as is the 
origin of our whole stellar system. This ap- 
titude lies deep in human nature. Its exist- 
• ence is indeed no miraculous event of to-day. 
Man's power to interpret his world has some- 
how evolved with man. The whole natural 
world of the past has been needed to produce 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

XIV 

I have spent most of our brief time, in our 
closing lecture, in illustrations of our meta- 

ronment, " wherein he pomts out that however we may interpret the 
facts, there exists, in the natural world, an instance of apparent 
adaptation which has never before been clearly apprehended and 
described. This instance, viewed by itself, furnishes no proof of our 
present philosophy, and no proof of any other philosophy; but it 
furnishes an illustration of the sort of evidence for teleology which, 
as I believe, the teleologically disposed philosophers of the future 
will ponder, and will interpret. 

What Professor Henderson points out is* that the physico-chemical 
constitution of the whole natural world, so far as that world is acces- 
sible to scientific study, is "preadapted," is "fitted" to be an environ- 
ment for living beings. This "fitness" is of a nature which cannot 
have resulted from the processes whereby life has been evolved. 
The same fitness involves an imion of many different physico-chem- 
ical properties of the environment of living beings, — an imion so 
complicated that one cannot suppose it due to chance. And finally 
the origin of this fitness must have preceded by countless ages any 
physical event of which we now have any probable knowledge. If 
life itself ever had an origin, the physical world was thus, in a manner 
which is new to us, inexplicably preadapted to the coming life for an 
indefinitely vast period before the life appeared. If life had (as 
Arrhenius has supposed) no origin whatever, the fitness of the envi- 
ronment which is here in question, being due neither to life nor to 
chance, remains a problem requiring scientific study, but at present 
promising no scientific solution. 

As Professor Henderson points out, the "fitness of the environ- 
ment" which he has thus discovered is so vast and pervasive, and so 
incapable of explanation in "vitalistic" terms as to render all forms 
of vitalism (including that of Bergson) superfluous as explanations 
of the true mutual fitness of organism and environment. In a natural 
world which is once for all, as Professor Henderson points out, 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

all must relate to the practical consequences 
which follow for us, and for our present age, 
if our view of the historical mission of Chris- 
tianity is true, and if the form of idealism, which 
we have here expounded, rightly states the 
relation of the Christian ideas to the real 
world. Let me sum up these practical con- 
sequences as briefly as I can. In sum, they 
amount to two maxims. 

In the past, the teaching of Christian 
doctrine has generally depended upon some 
form of Christology. In recent times the 
traditional problems of Christology have be- 
come, in the light of our whole view of the 
world, of mankind, and of history, increas- 
ingly diflScult and perplexing. Whoever 
asserts that, at one moment of human his- 
tory, and only at that one moment, an unique 
being, at once an individual man, and at the 
same time also God, appeared, and performed 
the work which saved mankind, — whoever, 
I say, asserts this traditional thesis, involves 
himself in historical, in metaphysical, in 
technically theological, and in elementally 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

And yet, if our previous account of the 
Christian ideas has been sound, the Chris- 
tology of the past has been due to motives 
which are perfectly verifiable in human reli- 
gious experience, and which can be inter- 
preted in terms of a rationally defensible 
philosophy both of life and of the universe. 
As a fact, whatever Christology Paul, or any 
later leader of Christian faith, has taught, 
and whatever religious experience has been 
used by the historical church, or by any of 
its sects or of its visible forms, as giving 
warrant for the Christological opinions, the 
literal and historical fact has always been this^ 
that in some fashion and degree those who have 
thus believed in the being whom they called 
Christy were united in a community of the 
faithful, were in love with that community , 
were hopefully and practically devoted to the 
cause of the still invisible, but perfectly real and 
divine Universal Community, and were saved 
by the faith and by the life which they thu^ 
expressed. 

Now in general, whatever else they held 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

ing that in this faith lies the genuine meaning 
which has lain beneath all the various and 
perplexing Christologies of the past is, other- 
wise, expressed thus : It is unwise to try to 
express this genuinely catholic .faith of all 
the loyal by attempting to form one more 
new sect. I do not wish to see any such new 
sect, or to hear of one. It is needless to ex- 
pect that those whom tradition now satisfies 
will at present first abandon tradition in or- 
der to learn the truth which, in their heart of 
hearts, they know that tradition has always 
symbolized. If men are loyal, but are in 
doubt as to traditional theology, it is a waste 
of time to endeavor to prove the usual theses 
of dogmatic Christology by any collection of 
accessible historical evidences. Such histori- 
cal evidences are once for all insuflScient. 
The existing documents are too fragmentary. 
The historical hypotheses are too shifting and 
evanescent. And if it is faith that is to be, 
in Christological matters, the real substance of 
things hoped for and the evidence of things 
not seen, what faith has ever been more Chris- 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

be found in the sayings of the founder, nor 
yet in the traditions of Christology. The 
core of the faith is the Spirit, the Beloved 
Community, the work of grace, the atoning 
deed, and the saving power of the loyal life. 
There is nothing else under heaven whereby 
men have been saved or can be saved. To 
say this is to found no new faith, but to send 
you to the heart of all true faith. 

This is no vague humanitarianism, is no 
worship of the mere natural being called 
humanity, and is no private mystic experience. 
This is a creed at once human, divine, and 
practical, and religious, and universal. Assim- 
ilate and apply this creed, and you have 
grasped the principle of Christian institutional 
life iii the past, and the principle which will 
develop countless new religious institutions 
in the future, and which will survive them. 

The first of my practical concluding maxims 
may be stated thus: Interpret Christianity 
and all the problems of its Christology in 
this spirit, and you will aid towards the one 
crowning oflSce of all human religion. You 

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 

versed community. If you have a church, 
judge your own church by this standard; 
and if your church does not yet fully meet 
this standard, aid towards reforming your 
church accordingly. If, like myself, you hold 
the true church to be invisible, require all 
whom you can influence to help to render it 
visible. To do that, however, does not mean 
that you shall either conform to the church 
as it is, or found new sects. If the spirit of 
scientific investigation, or of learned research, 
shows signs — as it already does — of becom- 
ing one of the best of all forms of unifying 
mankind in free loyalty, then regard science 
not merely as in possible harmony with reli- 
gion, but as itself already one of the principal 
organs of religion. Aid toward the coming 
of the universal community by helping to make 
the work of religion not only as catholic as is 
already the true spirit of loyalty, but as in- 
ventive of new social arts, as progressive as 
is now natural science. So shall you help 
in making, not merely happy individuals (for 
no power can render detached individuals 

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INDEX 



Agitator, modem, illustrating 
strife between individualism 
. and collectivism, I 154 f. 

Altruism, misunderstood as Chris- 
tian love, I 79 ; insufficient to 
check influence of cultivation, 
188. 

Amos, II 190. 

Apocalyptic vision of the true 
church, I 58 ; II 386. 

Apologist, attitude of, towards 
Christianity, I 6 ff., 9, 10 f., 
403 ff., 413 ; the three central 
Christian ideas misunderstood 
by, 44 f . ; II 390. 

Aristotle, on communities, I 61 ; 
his ideal of beatitude, 190 f . 

Arnold, Matthew, his *'St. Paul 
and Protestantism " quoted, 

I 217 ff. ; his modern view of 
sin, 221 ff. ; this view criticised, 
224 ff . ; this view applied to 
moral treason, 257 ff. ; the 
hjrpothetical traitor's answer to, 
259 ff.; 362. 

Atonement, I Lecture VI ; limita- 
tions of the problem, 272; ap- 
plication to the " traitor," 279 
ff.; Christian idea of, 283 ff.; 
as *' penal satisfaction," 284 f. ; 
"moral theories" of, 288 f. ; not 
a problem of "forgiveness," 
297, 301 ; a human problem, 
304 ff. ; real essence of, 311 ff., 
illustrated by the story of 
Joseph and his brethren, 365 ff.; 
relation between the human 
and the Christian form of, 
318 ff. ; human form of, ex- 
pressed in a postulate, 322 ; re- 
lation of community to, 361 tf . ; 

II 378. 



Bach's Passion Music, applied to 
the moral tragedy of the traitor, 
I 274 ff. 

Bastian, ethnologist, II 29. 

Beethoven, his Fifth Symphony, 
illustrating process of interpre- 
tation; II 191. 

"Beloved Community, The," 
loyalty to, I 172; contrasted 
with loyalty to individuals, 173; 
contrasted with natural social 
groups, 183 ; as ideal Kingdom 
of Heaven, 352, 357; as Com- 
munity of Interpretation, II 
219, 428. [See Community.] 

Bergson, I 418 ; II 32, 34 ; stating 
opposition between conception 
and perception, 118 f., 124, 
126 ff., 135, 139; his view of 
reality as change, 154 f., 159 ; his 
glorification of instinct, 189 ; il- 
lustrating office of interpreta- 
tion, 256 ff., 261 ff.. 285; his 
pragmatism and mysticism, 307 
f., 323, 421. 

Brooding, over sin, I 208 ff., 245, 
362 f. 

Bryant, II 28. 

Buddhism, its escape from the 
"moral burden," I 189, 407; 
Nirvana, contrasted with 
Pauline Charity, 190 f. ; com- 
pared with Christianity, 332 ff., 
362, contrasted, 339 ff. ; salva- 
tion through loyalty not taught 
by, 345, 363; II 12, 266; self- 
denial of, 306. 

Burden, moral, of the Individual, 
I Lecture III ; in relation to the 
Apostle Paul, 117 ff. ; produced 
by conflict between social will 
and self-will, 140 ff. ; as burden 



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INDEX 



with natural social groups, 
183 fif . ; contrasted with Nirvana, 
190 f. ; psychology of the 
dogmas in relation to, 203 ff. ; 
as portrayed in the Fourth 
Gospel, 211 ff. ; treachery to, 
295 ff. ; triumph of, over treason, 
309 £f. ; expressed in a postulate, 
322; loyalty to, not taught by 
Buddhism, 344; central in 
Christian salvation, 345, 374 f . ; 
all the Christian maxims im- 
plied in the notion of, 349 ff . ; 
spirit of, illustrated by the 
parable of the Prodigal Son, 
353 f. ; relation of Atonement 
to, 361 ff., illustrated by the 
story of Joseph and his brethren, 
365 ff. ; conceived as divine, 
408 f . ; relation of the problem 
of Jesus* divinity to, 415 ff. ; 
conceived as human founder of 
Christianity, 416; II 338 ff.; 
and the Time-Process, II 
Lecture IX ; spirit of, identical 
with Logos-principle, 16; idea 
of, illustrating problem of the 
One and the Many, 17 f., 28 ff. ; 
past and memory of, 44 ff.; 
restricted definition of, 52 ff., 
59 f . ; first condition of the 
existence of, in the restricted 
sense, 60 ff., second condition, 
67 f., third condition, 68 f.; 
as single entity, 79; union of 
one and the many in, 80 ff. ; 
individual as, 81 ; coSperative 
life of, 82 ff.; still further re- 
striction of, 86 f. ; as distin- 
guished, from other coSperative 
groups, 87 ff . ; love as conscious- 
ness of, 91 ff. ; definition and 
analysis of a Community of 
Interpretation, 208 ff. ; as 
scientific, 227, 232 ff.; meta- 
physical implications of, 240 ff . ; 
existence of, presupposed in 
the "Will to Interpret," 253 ff. ; 
real universe as, 264 ff . ; mean- 
ing of individual understood 
only in terms of, 312 ff. ; meta- 



physics of, illustrated by in- 
ductive sciences, 394 ff. 

Comparison, process of, as a 
form of interpretation, II 
169 ff. ; instances of, 170 ff., 193 ; 
further analysis of, 194 ff. ; in 
relation to Deduction, 196 ff.; 
absolute truth resulting from, 
200 ff. ; applied to other minds, 
206 ff. ; metaphysical impli- 
cations of, 264 ff. 

Conception, cognitive process, 
contrasted with perception, II 
117 ff. ; as stated by Bergson, 
118, 124; synthesis of percep- 
tion and, 121 ff . ; object of, as 
universal, 127 f. ; contrasted 
with interpretation, 149 ff., 
188 ff.; illustrated by Plato, 
256 ff. ; no philosophy of pure, 
258 f. 

Confucius, I 413. 

Consciousness, comi)ounding of, 

11 31 ; Fechner's planetary, 33. 
Contrast, element of, in self-con- 
sciousness, I 134 ff.; II 319 ff.; 
as producing social tension, 
I 138 ff. ; as constituting the 
problem of reality, II 265 ff. 

Cooperation, as life of the com- 
munity, analysis of, II 82 ff. ; 
psychology of, 86 ff. 

Corinthians, epistle to the, I 96, 
101, 190, 327; II 68, 73, 75, 345. 

Creed, in relation to the "modem 
man," I 15 ff. ; ethical and re- 
ligious value of the, 348 ; meta- 
physical problem of the, II 

12 f. 

Dante, comparison of Shake- 
speare with, illustrating nature 
of interpretation, II 176 f., 180. 

Darwin, illustrating nature of 
interpretation, II 190, 251, 404, 
410, 414. 

Death, in relation to wilful sin, 
I 223, 238. 

Deduction, process of, analyzed, 
195 ff. 

"Depersonalization," process of. 



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INDEX 



pothesis, 400 ff.; teleological 
aspect of, 411 ff. 

Instincts, character of, in rela- 
tion to the "moral burden,'' I 
122 ff. 

Interpretation, Pauline Charity 
as, II 98 ; problem of the nature 
of, 110; problem of Christian- 
ity involving. 111 ; philosophy 
and life depending upon, 112; 
as a special process, 114 ff. ; 
as a fundamental cognitive 
process, 129; illustrations of, 
130 ff., 140 ff. ; knowledge of 
self involving, 137; Peirce's 
central thesis of, 139 ff. ; a 
triadic relation, 140 ff. ; applied 
to the time-process, 144 ff ., 271 ; 
not a logical formalism, 148; 
psychology of, 148 ff., 166 ff., 
169 ff. ; Peirce's "sign," object 
of, 148 f . ; contrasted with per- 
ception and conception, 149 ff., 
187 ff. ; process of Comparison 
involving, 169 ff. ; instances of 
comparison, 170 ff. ; Peirce's 
theory of, not derived from 
Hegel, 186 f. ; deeper meaning 
of, 187 ff . ; in relation to Deduc- 
tion, 196 ff. ; to truth, 200 ff. ; 
applied to neighbor's mind, 
204 ff. ; to the Community, 
208 ff . ; definition and analysis 
of a Community of Interpre- 
tation, 211 ff. ; loyalty to it, 
essence of scientific spirit, 227 f ., 
262; place of, in scientific 
work and discovery, 231 ff., 
illustrations, 232 ff. ; meta- 
physical implications of, 240 ff . ; 
office of, illustrated by the 
philosophers, 266 ff., 274, by 
Plato and Bergson, 266 ff. ; 
real world as "community of 
interpretation," analyzed and 
defended, 264 ff. ; not static, 
270; in relation to Pragma- 
tism, 297 ff. ; in relation to 
postulating other minds, 319 ff . ; 
of essence of Christianity, as 
illustrated by fictitious mem- 



ber of the Pauline Church, 
344 ff . ; harmony between Com- 
munity of, and inductive 
sciences, 394 ff. ; inductive 
sciences illustrating metaphys- 
ics of, 417 ff. 

Intuition, II 193, 263. 

Israel, prophets of, in relation to 
Community, I 100, 104. 

James, William, I 312; on "com- 
pounding of consciousness," II 
30 ; on the problem of the One 
and the Many, 31 ff., 115. 119, 
163 ; his definition of idea as a 
"leading," 180 f., 186, 199, 
291, 293, 296; acknowledg- 
ment of other selves, 302 f., 
313, 315, 319, 389. 

Japanese, the, on loyalty, I 68; 
Buddhism of, 346 f.; II 39. 

Jesus, in relation to Christianity 
as a personal religion, I 24; 
contrast between, and inter- 
pretation of his mission, 26 ff . ; 
and the kingdom of Heaven, 
31 f., 37 ff., 50, 197 ff., 364 ff. ; 
problematic original teaching 
of, 32 f . ; his doctrine of love, 
76 ff. ; its practical indefinite- 
ness, 86 ff . ; synthesis of loyalty 
with the doctrine of love of, 
114; his teaching concerning 
wilful sin, 227 ff. ; problem of 
the divinity of, 412 ff. 

John the Baptist, truth of his 
teaching, II 386 f., 388. 

Joseph and his brethren, story of, 
illustrating essence of Atone- 
ment, I 366 ff. 

Judaism, individualism in, I 
146 f . ; conception of wilful sin 
in, 232 f . 

Kant, in reference to concep- 
tion and perception, II 119 i., 
122. 

Kingdom of Heaven, problematic 
meaning of, 1 31 ff . ; as developed 
by Christian community, 36 ff . ; 
as characterized in the Sermon 



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15 fif. ; as fictitious being, 16 ff. ; 
as postulate embodying "Edu- 
cation of the human race," 
17 ff . ; in relation to Christianity, 
19 ff., 28 ff. ; in relation to sin 
and hell, 236 ff. ; geocentric 
view of, II 7 ; analogy between, 
and fictitious Pauline Christian, 
370 ff. 

Modern Mind, and the Christian 
Idects, I Lecture VIII; three 
historical vreligious lessons for 
the, 385 ff. ; lessons of the 
present day, 393 f . ; mysticism 
and, 398 ff. ; orthodoxy and, 
402 f. ; real choice for, 404 ff. ; 
in relation to the problem of 
the divinity of Jesus, 412 ff. 

"Mystery," Paul's use of, I 92 ff. 

Mysticism, conceived as solution 
of the problem of Christianity, 
1 398 ff. ; Bergson's, II 307 f . 

Napoleon, II 235. 

New Jerusalem, I 58, 106. 

Newton, II 413. 

New Zealand ers* njemory of the 

Community, II 45 ff., 69. 
Nietzsche, I 155. 
Nirvana, contrasted with Pauline 

Charity, I 190 f., 336. 

Omar Khajryam, quoted, I 261. 

One and the Many, The, problem 
of, illustrated by idea of Com- 
munity, II 17 f. ; the one as 
many, 19 ff. ; the many as one, 
26 ff. ; Wundt's psychology of, 
26 ff.; James's, 30 ff . ; union 
of, in the Community, 80 ff., 
in love, 103; solution of the 
l^oblem of, in the Community 
of Interpretation, 213, 219 ff. 

Opponent, attitude of, towards 
Christianity, I 8 f . 

Oriental view of Christianity, I 
8 ; fatalism, 261. 

Paul, Apostle, as "modem man" 
of his time, I 18 f. ; as critic 
of the individual, 41 f. ; in con- 



trast to Jesus' Kingdom of 
Heaven, 74 f . ; his contribution 
to the doctrine of love, 78, 91 ; 
his use of "Mystery," 92 ff. ; 
his conception of love as loyalty, 
98 ff., 114; in relation to the 
"moral burden," 117 ff. ; his 
notion of "the law," 133; his 
opinion about Gentiles, 136, 
153 ; his analysis of sin in the 
seventh chapter of the epistle 
to the Romans, 148 ff., 176 ff. ; 
his escape from the "moral 
burden," through loyalty, 
167 ff., 178 ; his conception of 
loyalty as Christian, 170 ff. ; 
his * * Beloved Community ' ' 
contrasted with other social 
groups, 182 ff. ; his new type of 
loyalty, analyzed, 185 ff. ; his 
"beatific vision," 190 ff. ; as 
conceived by Matthew Arnold, 
217 ff. ; his view of "dying to 
sin," 250 ff. ; in relation to 
Atonement, 285 ff., 363 f.; 
his fulfilment of the parables, 
355; as mystic, 400; and the 
memory of the Pauline Church, 
II 69 ff. ; his synthesis of the 
memory and the hope of the 
Church, 76 ff. ; his love as emo- 
tion and interpretation, 96 ff. ; 
in relation to the processes of 
Comparison and Interpretation, 
191, 221; his attitude of the 
will as loyalty, 310 ff., 325; 
his community as human 
founder of Christianity, 338 f . ; 
essence of Christianity illus- 
trated by a fictitious member 
of his Church, 344 ff. 

Pauline Church. [See Church, 
Community, and Paul.] 

Peirce, Charles, II 114; as in- 
ventor of Pragmatism, 115; 
direct perception of the self 
denied by, 138; his central 
thesis of Interpretation, 139 ff. ; 
triadic nature of Comparison, 
theory of, 169 ff. ; his idea of 
"a third," 173 ff.; his theory 



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INDEX 



270 f. ; not expressible in ex- 
dusivdy perceptual or con- 
ceptual terms, 274. 

Revelation, I 410. 

Ritschl, II 329. 

Romans, epistle to the, I 117, 
122, 124 ff., seventh chapter 
ofi analyzed, 147 ff., 217. 

Russell, Bertrand, II 119, 196. 

Sabatier, his "moral theory" of 
Atonement, I 288 f . 

Salvation, in relation to the King- 
dom of Heaven, I 49 ; through 
loyalty, 158 f., 181, 186 ff., 
376 ; through destruction of the 
natural self, 344 ; as Atonement, 
364. 

Samaritan, the Good, parable of, 
194. 

Sanday , quoted from his ' ' Christol- 
ogies. Ancient and Modem," 
II 329 ; his criticism of Hegel's 
philosophy of rehgion, 330. 

SchiUer, F. C. S., I 190. 

Schliemann, his hypothesis il- 
lustrating harmony of inter- 
pretation and induction, II 
400 ff. 

Schopenhauer, II 266 ; his analy- 
sis of the WiU, 298 ff., 324. 

Self, time^rocess in relation to, 
II 40 ff. ; no mere datum, 61 f . ; 
ideal extension of, 63 ff., 96 ff. ; 
as Community, 81 ; accept- 
ance of other selves, 302 ff.; 
in terms of social consciousness, 
312 ff. 

Sense, historical, in relation to 
the understanding of Chris- 
tianity, I 59. 

Sermon on the Mount, character- 
izing Kingdom of Heaven, 1 49 ; 
religion and ethics illustrated 
by, 327. 

Shakespeare, comparison of Dante 
with, illustrating nature of in- 
terpretation, II 176, 180, 193. 

Signs, Doctrine of. The, II Lec- 
ture XIV; "Sign," Peirce*s 
object of Interpretation, 148, 



152; definition and analysis 
of the term, 281 ff., illustra- 
tions, 286 ff. ; metaphysical 
thesis stated in terms of, 284; 
in relation to Pragmatism and 
Radical Empiricism, 297 ff. ; 
other selves interpreted in 
terms of, 316 ff. ; extension of, 
324 f. 

Sin, original, in relation to the 
"moral burden," I 122; sense 
of, analyzed by Matthew Ar- 
nold, 217 ff. ; Arnold's view of, 
criticised, 221 ff. ; original and 
voluntary, 224 f . ; teaching of 
Jesus concerning wilful, 227; 
attitude of "modem man" tow- 
ards, 236 f. ; the unpardon- 
able, analyzed, 243 ff. ; dying 
to, 250; equation of the un- 
pardonable with conscious be- 
trayal, 253 f. ; Arnold's view 
of, applied to the "traitor," 
257 ff.; the "hell of the ir- 
revocable" applied to, 263 ff. ; 
in relation to Atonement, 
361 ff. 

Sistine Madonna, illustrating na- 
ture of Interpretation, II 191. 

Social aspect, of self-conscious- 
ness, I 132 ff. ; in conflict with 
the individual, 140 ff. ; and in- 
dividual contrasted in Paul's 
epistle to the Romans, 148 ff. ; 
the growth of the, intensifying 
individualism, 152, 176 ff. ; psy- 
chology of [see Psychology]. 

Socrates, I 413. 

Spinoza, quoted, I 109 ; his idea 
of Substance, analyzed, II 
261 ff., 275. 

Spirit, problem of the Holy, of 
central importance, II 13 ff. 

Strauss, David Frederic, quoted, 
II 330, 332 f . 

Substance, Spinoza's, analyzed, II 
261 ff., 275. 



Tarde, his social psychology, II 86. 

Teleology, in the natural world, 

illustrated by inductive sciences. 



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